‘I don’t want to say the election’s over.’ Outtakes from a speech show Trump refusing to abandon a lie.


In testimony shown on Thursday, former White House aides described extended, exhausting efforts to persuade President Donald J. Trump to record a video on Jan. 6 telling his supporters to leave the Capitol, and another on Jan. 7 condemning the violence.

But even more telling were Mr. Trump’s asides in the second recording session, captured in previously unseen outtakes.

The video showed Mr. Trump’s body language exuding distaste: He wrinkled his face, shot an annoyed glance and slapped his lectern in frustration.

He read one scripted line cleanly: “I would like to begin by addressing the heinous attack yesterday, and to those who broke the law, you will pay.”

Then he started to break.

“‘You do not represent our movement, you do not represent our country. If you broke the law’ — can’t say that,” he said, shaking his head. “I’m not going to — I already said ‘you will pay.’”

“‘The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defied the seat of,’” he went on, before realizing he had misspoken and slamming the both hands on the lectern. “It’s ‘defiled,’ right? See, I can’t see it very well,” he said, shading his eyes.

He offered an assurance: “OK, I’ll do this. I’m going to do this. Let’s go.”

Then came the most revealing moment.

“‘But this election is now over. Congress has certified the results’ — I don’t want to say the election’s over,” he said. “I just want to say ‘Congress has certified the results’ without saying the election’s over.”

Even in a video whose purpose was to condemn the violence perpetrated by his supporters — a video his aides had managed to compel him to record, even though he clearly didn’t want to — he could not bring himself to renounce the lie that had spurred on the violence.

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