Trump calls January 6 rioters "hostages" and makes re-election promise

Palm Beach, Florida - Donald Trump on Monday pledged to free people jailed for taking part in the 2021 attack on the US Capitol as one of his first actions if re-elected, calling them "hostages."

Donald Trump promised to free people convicted over their role in the January 6 Capitol riot if re-elected as president.
Donald Trump promised to free people convicted over their role in the January 6 Capitol riot if re-elected as president.  © Collage: REUTERS & BRENT STIRTON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The rioters – egged on by the then-president and fueled by his false claims of voter fraud – stormed the seat of US democracy on January 6, 2021, in a bid to halt the transfer of power to Joe Biden.

Around 1,358 defendants have been charged in the 38 months since then, according to the latest figures from the Justice Department released last week. About 500 have been sentenced to prison terms.

Trump posted the comments on his Truth Social website, additionally promising to shut down the border with Mexico as part of his first acts if re-elected, without providing details.

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"My first acts as your next President will be to Close the Border, DRILL, BABY, DRILL, and Free the January 6 Hostages being wrongfully imprisoned!" he wrote late Monday.

Trump has made previous comments about his hypothetical first day in office, vowing during a televised town hall in December not to act as a dictator – "other than day one."

It's also not the first time Trump has called his imprisoned supporters "hostages" or suggested they should be freed.

In January, he called on Biden to "release the J6 hostages, Joe" during a campaign rally in Iowa.

Trump faces four criminal indictments, including two – one federal and one in Georgia – stemming from his attempts to overturn the election results after losing to Biden.

Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS & BRENT STIRTON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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