Trump Labels Jan. 6 Defendants ‘Hostages,” Calls For Release

Former President Donald Trump ramped up his calls for justice over the weekend, demanding that President Joe Biden release those who have been jailed for their role in the Jan. 6 protests.

During a speech he gave in Iowa on Saturday on the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 protests, Trump doubled down on his claims that the federal government unfairly targeted his supporters that day, referring to the political prisoners as “hostages.”

Through the end of last year, the Department of Justice has successfully brought charges against about 450 defendants and had them convicted, resulting in almost 850 years’ worth of time in jail being doled out.

Many of the defendants only spent a few days behind bars, but others have been sentenced to decades-long time in prison.

The former leader of the Proud Boys, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, received a 22-year prison sentence. The founder of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, was sentenced to 18 years behind bars, as was military veteran Ethan Nordean, the leader of the Proud Boys’ Seattle chapter.

Trump’s comments about the Jan. 6 defendants came just one day after Biden delivered a speech in Pennsylvania that said “MAGA extremist” supporters as well as Trump himself are a “threat to democracy.”

He further accused his biggest political rival of “echoing the same exact language used in Nazi Germany.”

This back-and-forth on major issues is likely just the start of a long, hard-fought and ugly mudslinging campaign to come should both Trump and Biden win their respective parties’ nominations, as is widely expected.

Trump has long said that Biden has used the DOJ and other federal agencies as weapons against him and his supporters — and that’s a phrase that Republicans in Congress have continued to use in the time since Trump left the White House.

That’s just one topic on which the two don’t agree, to say the least. Trump and Republicans have heavily criticized the Biden administration’s complete lack of control over the southern border with Mexico and immigration in general.

“Under crooked Joe Biden, our borders have been absolutely erased,” Trump said during his Iowa speech. “Millions of illegal aliens are invading us like a military invasion.”