A Trump supporter from New Jersey who was arrested during Wednesday’s chaos in Washington, D.C. condemned the rioters who stormed into the Capitol building -- but stopped short of blaming the president for the violence.
Leonard Guthrie of Lower Township, New Jersey, was among the thousands of Trump supporters who gathered in Washington, D.C., Tuesday and Wednesday to protest the results of the presidential election.
Guthrie told NBC10 he wasn’t among the pro-Trump mob who entered the building. But he admitted to crossing a police line, which he said led to his arrest.
During a rally on Wednesday, Trump urged his supporters to march on the Capitol building.
Get Philly local news, weather forecasts, sports and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Philadelphia newsletters.
“Trump told everybody, he said, ‘Go over to the Capitol, let them hear your voice,’” Guthrie said.
After the demonstration, pro-Trump rioters stormed into the Capitol building while Congress was conducting the Electoral College vote count. The rioters breached security posts, broke through the windows and doors of the building and occupied the Senate chamber, forcing the Senate and House of Representatives to evacuate.
Four people were killed, including Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran and Trump supporter who was shot by law enforcement officers as she tried to enter the House chamber through a broken window.
The Metropolitan Police Department said they made at least 80 arrests during the civil unrest and riots. U.S. Capitol Police arrested 14 people on Wednesday, including Guthrie and Terry Brown, of Pennsylvania.
Guthrie described what he did as “civil disobedience” but didn't deny breaking the law.
“I crossed a line,” he said. “I disobeyed a law.”
Guthrie also condemned the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol.
“It was stupid,” he said. “You know, that’s not what this was about. This was about revival. It wasn’t about kicking doors.”
Trump’s rhetoric both before and during the riots drew strong condemnation from lawmakers from both parties, with many accusing him of inciting the violence. On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, a move that’s drawn support from other lawmakers.
Guthrie doesn’t believe Trump was to blame for the violence, however.
“No, he did not incite,” Guthrie said. “He told us what to do. Let them hear your voice.”
Guthrie was charged with unlawful entry. He returned home overnight, but not before colliding with a deer on the trip back.
“Nice end to what started out as a God-filled day,” said Guthrie, who said he’s been crying over the woman who was shot and killed during the riot. “I was there to share God’s word.”
He also said his court date is scheduled for June.