Several people have pushed back against claims made by former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson that former President Donald Trump lunged at the steering wheel of his presidential limousine after being told he could not go to the Capitol Building on January 6.
Speaking to House select committee investigating the January 6th riot, Hutchinson recalled a conversation she had with another White House official, Tony Ornato, who told her that Trump “reached up toward the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel.”
“[Then-White House deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato] proceeded to tell me that when the President got in the beast, he was under the impression from Mr. Meadows that the off-the-record movement to the Capitol was still possible and likely to happen, but that [Secret Service agent Robert “Bobby,” Engel] had more information. So as the President had gotten into the vehicle with Bobby, he thought they were going up to the Capitol, and when Bobby relayed to him we’re not, we don’t have the assets to do it, it’s not secure, we’re going back to the West Wing, the President had a very strong, very angry response to that. Tony described him as being ‘irate.’ The President said something to the effect of ‘I’m the F-ing President, take me to the Capitol now,'” Hutchinson testified on Tuesday (June 28).
Now, several people are disputing her claims, including Ornato. CNN reporter Gabby Orr tweeted that Ornato is denying the incident didn’t happen.
“Tony Ornato is denying that he told Cassidy Hutchinson Trump grabbed the steering wheel in presidential vehicle on 1/6 or lunged at a fellow agent, a USSS official tells @joshscampbell. CNN confirms that Ornato & Enger are prepared to testify that neither incident occurred,” she wrote.
Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig also tweeted that her sources in the Secret Service said that Trump did not try to grab the steering wheel.
“Sources tell me: @SecretService agents dispute that Donald Trump assaulted any agent or tried to grab the steering wheel on January 6. They agree Trump was furious about not being abel to go to Capitol with his supporters. They offer to testify under oath,” she tweeted.