Donald Trump said he regretted not marching to the US Capitol when it was stormed by his supporters last year – and teased a 2024 run, saying things had become “boring” in his absence.
The former president said he had tried to march to the Capitol on January 6 last year, when a violent mob stormed the building but was stopped by his security detail.
“Secret Service said I couldn’t go. I would have gone there in a minute,” he said.
The crowd halted Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election as they stormed the building, while Mike Pence, Trump’s vice-president, and members of Congress had to be rushed to safety.
Four people in the crowd died during the unrest and five police officers who served at the Capitol on January 6 died in the aftermath of the attack.
In a lengthy interview with the Washington Post, Trump deflected any blame for inciting the violent clashes with his fiery speech earlier that day, in which he told his supporters to “fight like hell” to keep him in power.
Instead, Trump blamed Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, for failing to stop the violence and insisted his speech was “peaceful and patriotic”.
'I doubt they would run against me'
Trump again teased a potential return to the White House and warned his potential Republican rivals against challenging him for the party’s nomination.
Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida and Trump’s strongest potential opponent, has declined to rule out running in 2024.
But Trump refuted the idea that DeSantis or other potential candidates – including Mike Pompeo, his former secretary of state, or Pence – could take him on.
“Would they run against me? I doubt they would run against me. I doubt it,” he said.
The 75-year-old confirmed that his health would factor into his decision to run for president again, but said he was currently in good health.
“You always have to talk about health,” he said. “You look like you’re in good health, but tomorrow, you get a letter from a doctor saying come see me again. That’s not good when they use the word ‘again’.
“I think a lot of people are going to be very happy by my decision,” he said, adding: “Because it’s a little boring now.”
Trump touched on the potential legal troubles he could face as a result of the January 6 attack on the Capitol, currently under investigation by a Congressional committee.
Ivanka Trump, his daughter, sat for an eight-hour interview with the panel this week, which Trump called a “shame and harassment”.
Trump refused to confirm whether he would testify before the panel, saying: “It depends what the request is”.
During the sprawling interview from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago beach club, the former president also offered his views on the foreign policy dilemmas facing his successor Biden.
He heavily criticised Nato for not doing more to help Ukraine and suggested the route out of the crisis was in lowering oil prices “because you need money to fight wars”.
He once again praised Vladimir Putin as a savvy negotiator for massing Russian troops along Ukraine’s border but said the Russian president had “overplayed his hand” by invading the country.
Sitting in a room at his Florida resort, Trump claimed he regularly receives calls from world leaders.
Earlier this week, he said, Viktor Orban, the re-elected Hungarian prime minister, called to credit Trump’s endorsement for his election win.
Trump said he has not spoken to Putin since he left the White House, but declined to say whether has since spoken with Chinese president Xi Jinping of China or North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
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