Former President Trump on Thursday referred to those jailed over their actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol as “hostages” during a rally with supporters in Texas.
Trump walked on stage at a Houston rally to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” as he typically does. But when it concluded, a song in which Trump collaborated with a chorus of inmates detained on charges related to the Jan. 6 insurrection began to play, and the former president stood saluting.
“Well, thank you very much, and you know what that was,” he said to open the rally. “I call them the ‘J-6 hostages,’ not prisoners. I call them the hostages, what’s happened. And you know, it’s a shame.”
In the song “Justice for All,” which was released on multiple streaming services in March, Trump is heard reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The 45th president’s portion on the track follows a chorus of Jan. 6 inmates, credited on the song as the “J6 Prison Choir,” who sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The end of the song features the chorus repeatedly chanting “USA!”
Money raised from the song was reportedly directed to families of the Jan. 6 mob who participated on the track.
Trump has repeatedly expressed sympathy for rioters charged in connection to Jan. 6, when his supporters violently clashed with law enforcement and stormed the complex to try and halt the certification of President Biden’s 2020 victory.
The former president has said he would consider pardoning some of those charged in connection to the Capitol attack, and he spoke earlier this year at a fundraiser organized for Jan. 6 defendants.
Trump himself is facing federal charges in Washington, D.C., over his attempts to remain in power after losing the 2020 election, and he is facing charges in Georgia over his efforts to overturn to the state’s 2020 election results.