Former Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” that the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6 was “incited” by President Donald Trump, and criticized him for fueling the “Big Lie” that the Nov. 3 election was stolen from him.
“He hasn’t said what would be the most helpful, which is, that he lost the election fair and square, and that it is time for the peaceful transition of power as is the great tradition of our country,” said Napolitano, who was Secretary of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013. “…He hasn’t recognized that some of this violence is fueled by what is known as the ‘Big Lie’ and he is the chief proponent of that.”
An internal Homeland Security report leaked in 2009 warned that right-wing extremism was on the rise and that it could lead to violence. There were calls for Napolitano’s resignation, and she was forced to apologize for a portion of that report that said extremists may try to attract veterans. Napolitano told host Shepard Smith during a Tuesday evening interview that white nationalists have only become more dangerous since the report.
“I think the assessment was generally right then, and it’s certainly been proven right over the succeeding years, and certainly during the past four years, and certainly during the past several weeks,” Napolitano said. “We’ve seen a rise in these right wing nationalist groups, fueled, in part, by social media and messaging via social media, and, in fact, on the 6th, in my view, incited by the President.”
There are growing concerns about an inside attack involving U.S. service members tasked with securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. The FBI is taking no chances and vetted the 25,000 National Guard troops who will be at the inauguration.
Twelve National Guard members have since been removed from securing Biden’s inauguration after the FBI vetting, according to a Pentagon spokesperson. Officials say two of the National Guard troops were flagged due to “inappropriate” comments and texts while the other ten were removed for what they’re calling a “number of different reasons.”
Napolitano said that the level of security at the Capitol is “necessary” because of the riot on Jan. 6 but that the measures will lead to a “very uneventful Inauguration Day.”
Correction: This story has been updated to correct one quote attribution.