According to a live broadcast from journalist Ford Fischer of an event honoring Babbitt, the event featured a variety of speeches and videos decrying her untimely death at the hands of a U.S. Capitol police officer. The personal message from Trump echoed the theme of the day, hailing Babbitt as a “hero” who deserves justice.
“To Ashli’s family and friends, please know that her memory will live on in our hearts for all time,” Trump said. “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.”
“On that horrible day of January 6, Ashli arrived at the United States Capitol,” he continued. “She was shot and tragically killed. Today would’ve been her birthday. Happy birthday, Ashli.”
This past August, a U.S. Capitol Police internal investigation cleared the officer (Michael Byrd) in the shooting of the unarmed Babbitt, charging he acted lawfully and within his training:
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USCP’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) determined the officer’s conduct was lawful and within Department policy, which says an officer may use deadly force only when the officer reasonably believes that action is in the defense of human life, including the officer’s own life, or in the defense of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury.
Speaking with NBC, officer Michael Byrd said that he showed “the utmost courage” on January 6.
“I had been yelling and screaming as loud as I was, ‘Please stop. Get back. Get back. Stop.’ We had our weapons drawn,” he said.
“I was again taking a tactical stance. You’re ultimately hoping your commands will be complied with, and unfortunately, they were not,” he added.
Byrd insisted that Babbitt was “posing a threat to the House of Representatives” when she attempted to climb through a barricade into the Speaker’s Lobby outside the House chamber on January 6.
In his message to Babbitt’s family, Trump said that there was “no reason” for Ashli to have lost her life on that fateful day while offering his “unwavering support” for her family’s quest for justice.
“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. I offer my unwavering support to Ashli’s family and call on the Department of Justice to reopen its investigation into her death on Jan. 6.”
In the months following Babbitt’s death, Trump reportedly spoke with her mother and expressed sympathy over what happened. “If that 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 Radical Left haters cannot be allowed to get away with this. There must be justice!” Trump reportedly said.