The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection revealed private texts from former Republican President Donald Trump's ex-campaign manager Brad Parscale in which he admitted Trump's “rhetoric killed someone."
In the days after the attack—which took place after a White nationalist led mob of Trump's supporters attacked the United States Capitol on the false premise the 2020 general election was stolen—Parscale texted former Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson telling her Trump was a "sitting President asking for civil war" and "I feel guilty for helping him win.”
When Pierson told Parscale he had only been doing "what you felt was right at the time and therefore it was right," Parscale noted "a woman is dead"—a reference to insurrectionist Ashli Babbitt who was killed by a law enforcement officer as she attempted to climb through the broken windows of the House Speaker's Lobby to gain access to members of Congress sheltering in the House chamber.
Pierson disagreed, telling Parscale it "wasn’t the rhetoric" that got Babbitt killed, but Parscale was firm that "Yes it was."
You can read the texts below.
Parscale's admission was a tacit acknowledgment of the consequences of Trump's behavior, which culminated in a violent insurrection that left at least five people dead and resulted in over 100 injuries to law enforcement as well as millions of dollars in damages.
And for many, it was the most glaring evidence yet of Trump's intent to overthrow the nation's seat of government and a sign the attack was a wakeup call for even his most ardent supporters.
Babbitt spent fourteen years in the United States Air Force before she became radicalized by the QAnon conspiracy theory which alleges Democrats are part of a Satan-worshipping, baby eating global pedophile ring that conspired against Trump during his time in office.
She also used her social media accounts to promote calls for a violent uprising that would lead to Trump's second inauguration.
Lieutenant Michael Byrd—the member of the U.S. Capitol Police who shot and killed Babbitt when she attempted to breach the House chamber—recalled yelling for rioters to back away from the doors.
Then in a moment captured on video, he fired a single shot that struck Babbitt in the shoulder. She would later die of her injuries.
In an August 2021 interview with NBC News conducted after he gave the news outlet permission to identify him when authorities declined to do so, he said he only fired his gun as a "last resort."
The DOJ ultimately cleared Byrd of wrongdoing and closed the investigation, noting in a press release the investigation found no evidence Byrd fired his gun without believing it had been "necessary" to do so "in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber."