Donald Trump’s comments ‘directly led’ to deadly violence in US Capitol, says Priti Patel

Stuart Henderson
·6-min read

Watch: Trump’s comments ‘directly led to violence’, says Priti Patel

Priti Patel has accused Donald Trump of directly provoking the violence in the US Capitol with his incendiary comments.

The home secretary’s comments are in stark contrast to those from Boris Johnson and a host of other UK ministers on Wednesday night who condemned the violence but did not explicitly criticise the outgoing US president.

In chaotic scenes, Trump supporters breached barricades and staged an occupation of the building in Washington DC on Wednesday.

Protesters clashed with police, tear gas was dispersed and one woman later died after being shot inside the US Capitol. Three others died as a result of the violence from “medical emergencies”, US officials said.

The prime minister labelled the scenes “disgraceful” on Wednesday night, but stepped back from mentioning Trump.

He tweeted: “The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”

Speaking on the BBC on Thursday morning, Patel’s comments signified a shift in the government’s approach to the violence.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Crowds gather outside the U.S. Capitol for the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election.(Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
Crowds gather outside the US Capitol for the 'Stop the Steal' rally in Washington. (Getty)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Crowds gather outside the U.S. Capitol for the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election.(Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital to protest the ratification of president-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over Trump. (Getty)

She said: “His comments directly led to the violence and so far he has failed to condemn that violence and that is completely wrong.

“He basically has made a number of comments yesterday that helped to fuel that violence and he didn’t do anything to de-escalate that whatsoever.”

Watch: World leaders react to storming of US Capitol

Earlier the home secretary told Sky News: “The violence should stop and he should absolutely condemn everything that has taken place.

“There’s no question about that at all. Someone was shot, people have died, this is terrible. Terrible beyond words quite frankly and there is no justification for it.”

Pressed to criticise the president’s involvement in flaring tensions, she added: “He made a statement yesterday and it did very little to de-escalate the situation.

“Words of provocation are completely wrong and quite frankly every aspect of the violence and the activities took place should be condemned.”

Patel’s comments on Thursday morning followed condemnation from a host of British politicians from all parties who described the scenes in Washington as “profoundly shocking” and “utterly horrifying”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who also failed to mention Trump directly, called them “horrendous”, tweeting: “These are not ‘protesters’ – this a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people.”

But deputy leader Angela Rayner went further on Thursday morning, saying Trump was “directly responsible” for the violence on the streets.

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the scenes from Washington were “not that surprising”.

Handout screengrab taken from the Twitter feed of Donald Trump showing his latest video which has been blocked from retweets, likes or comments due to the risk it may incite violence. The Prime Minister has condemned "disgraceful scenes" in the United States as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in Washington DC.
Donald Trump's speech was deleted by Twitter due to the risk it may incite violence. (PA)

She told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “In some senses Donald Trump’s presidency has been moving towards this moment almost from the moment it started, but that doesn’t make it any less shocking.

“What we witnessed weren’t just scenes of horrible breaches of law and order, people taking over the seat of democracy, we actually witnessed the president of the United States inciting insurrection in his own country and I think for many people it will take some time to get our heads round that.

“Thankfully there’s only a matter of days of his presidency left. We heard Joe Biden last night remind us what a real leader, a real democratic leader, should sound like.

Trump supporters in the Capitol Rotunda. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Trump supporters in the Capitol Rotunda. (AFP via Getty Images)

“This has been a dark period in America’s history, there’s no doubt about it, and I would imagine many people in that country and across the world are looking forward to it coming to an end but clearly there are deep-seeded divides there that the new administration has to tackle and try to heal.”

Scotland’s justice minister called on the home secretary to deny Trump entry to the UK once he leaves office.

Humza Yousaf tweeted: “Once he leaves office if Trump tries to come to UK the home secretary should give serious consideration to denying him entry, she has the power if an applicant’s presence is not conducive to the public good.

“Trump’s default is to stir up racial tension and yesterday he incited a violent mob.”

Demonstrators forced their way inside after a rally was held near the White House where Trump encouraged them to march on Capitol Hill.

Supporter of President Donald Trump are confronted by Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber at the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Supporters of Donald Trump are confronted by Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber at the Capitol. (AP)
Supporters of President Donald Trump are confronted by Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber inside the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Supporters of President Donald Trump made their way to outside the Senate Chamber inside the Capitol. (AP)

Twitter and Facebook temporarily suspended Trump from posting after he published a video statement repeating falsehoods over the validity of the election and urged supporters to “go home” from the house of Congress as politicians met to confirm Biden’s victory.

In the video, Trump told the protesters he “loved them” and that he felt their pain.

Watch: Trump supporters storm US Capitol as politicians evacuated