Former President Donald Trump recorded a personalized video message for the family of Ashli Babbitt to mark what would have been the deceased 14-year Air Force veteran’s 36th birthday.
The family held an event over the weekend in Freeport, Texas, to commemorate Babbitt’s life, and after expressing his condolences Trump called for the Department of Justice to reopen its investigation into her death.
“To Ashli’s family and friends, please know that her memory will live on in our hearts for all time,” the former president said in the video. “Ashli served our country in the United States Air Force for 14 years, where she was a security forces airman and eventually went on to achieve the rank of senior airman. She defended our nation overseas including in Iraq to fight in the war on terror.”
An unarmed Babbitt was shot and killed by a police officer inside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when she tried to climb through a broken window next to a door outside the Speaker’s Lobby, which leads to the House chamber. The shooting was captured on video and there was no audible warning heard as the officer’s arm appeared from a room next to the entryway and fired a shot. The Trump supporter’s death remains the only death on Jan. 6 directly related to the storming of the Capitol. Three protesters died of health-related causes, and Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died the following day of a stroke.
“On that horrible day of January 6, Ashli arrived at the United States Capitol,” Trump continued. “Innocent, she was shot and tragically killed. Today would’ve been her birthday. Happy birthday Ashli. My heart and the hearts of millions of Americans across the country are with everyone who knew and loved her. I especially want to express my great sympathy to Ashli’s loving husband, Aaron, and her wonderful mother, Micki [Witthoeft].”
“Together, we grieve her terrible loss. There was no reason Ashli should’ve lost her life that day,” Trump said. “We must all demand justice for Ashli and her family, so on this solemn occasion, as we celebrate her life, we renew our call for a fair and nonpartisan investigation into the death of Ashli Babbitt.”
Former President Trump spoke at the Ashli Babbitt birthday commemoration via pre-recorded video: “Her memory will live on in our hearts for all time.”
“There was no reason Ashli should have lost her life that day. We must all demand justice for Ashli and her family,” Trump said. pic.twitter.com/goue5MWLNt
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) October 11, 2021
Trump has previously said that Babbitt was “murdered,” and his call for “justice” is nothing new.
“I spoke to the wonderful mother and husband of Ashli Babbitt, who was murdered at the hands of someone who should have never pulled the trigger of his gun,” he said in an August statement. “We know who he is. If this happened to the ‘other side,’ there would be riots all over America, and yet there are far more people represented by Ashli, who truly loved America, than there are on the other side.”
The video message to the family is also seen here:
EXCLUSIVE: President Trump wishes Ashli Babbitt a Happy Birthday at the Texas Loves Ashli Babbitt Rally.
“I offer my unwavering support to Ashli’s family— And call on the DOJ to re-open the investigation into her death on January 6th” pic.twitter.com/VWhFUMtpcg
— Tayler Hansen (@TaylerUSA) October 10, 2021
While the Capitol Police never officially released the officer’s name, Lt. Michael Byrd came forward on his own volition in an exclusive interview with NBC News.
Byrd said he has no doubt that he made the right decision in light of the circumstances, insisting his actions saved lives. He acknowledged that Babbitt being unarmed did not alter his decision-making and said he has been inundated with death threats since he shot her.
“I know that day I saved countless lives,” he said. “I know members of Congress, as well as my fellow officers and staff, were in jeopardy and in serious danger. And that’s my job.”
“I tried to wait as long as I could,” he added. “I hoped and prayed no one tried to enter through those doors. But their failure to comply required me to take the appropriate action to save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers.”
The DOJ cleared Byrd of wrongdoing, as did the Capitol Police.
“The investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber,” federal prosecutors said in a statement announcing that no charges would be filed.
Aaron Babbitt responded to Byrd’s interview with NBC to say he was “pissed off.”
“I’ve only heard a couple of clips at this point,” the widower said during an interview on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“I read the full transcript of it. I had not heard the one clip that you just played and my agitation level is actually going through the roof right now, where he admitted he didn’t really care if she was armed or not or unarmed or not,” he said.
“He didn’t care,” Babbitt repeated, the anger written across his face. “So yeah, we are going down a bad rabbit hole right now.”
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