The “viewing party” claims stem from a video the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. apparently shared with followers on Wednesday. The video, however, does not appear on Donald Jr.’s Instagram account, as CNBC notes; and neither the White House nor the Trump Organization have responded to CNBC’s request for comment.
Donald Jr. showed off the celebratory mood backstage at the rally.
The video shows Donald Jr. with his father and his brother, Eric, watching video feeds of the crowd while backstage at the rally on Wednesday — along with other supporters, including Fox News alum Kimberly Guilfoyle and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows — as the Laura Branigan song “Gloria” plays over loudspeakers in the background.
“Guys, getting ready to go out there,” a celebratory Donald Jr. says in the clip, which he apparently streamed live from a tented area behind the scenes. “I can’t believe the crowds I’ve seen out there. Literally a hundred thousand people. It’s all the way going to the Washington Monument.”
He went on: “Just awesome patriots who are sick of the bulls--t. So thank you all for that. It’s actually hard to believe. Unfortunately, there’s a road between the main crowd and the masses. Love to see them getting closer because it’d be pretty awesome, but this is pretty incredible.”
According to CNBC, Donald Jr. also wished Eric a happy birthday in the clip and called him “an old, old broken down man.” He referred to Eric’s wife, Lara Trump, as a “future senator,” referring to her interest in running for U.S. Senate.
In the video, Donald Jr. also records Kimberly, his girlfriend since 2018, dancing to the music and grinning at the camera. “Have the courage to do the right thing!” Kimberly tells viewers. “Fight!”
And Donald Jr. points the camera to Mark, who gives a thumbs-up to viewers. “Mark Meadows, an actual fighter, one of the few, a real fighter,” Donald Jr. says.
The Trump "viewing party" video actually came before the violence at the Capitol Building.
If the Trump family did have a “viewing party” for the riot, it wasn’t shown the footage Donald Jr. shared. That video was recorded before the president gave his speech at the rally. Even so, however, the family was scoping out the crowd of supporters, many of whom participated in the riot that left five people dead on Wednesday.
Now the president is facing condemnation, social media exile, and possible impeachment for his role in inciting the riot.
“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol,” he said in his speech on Wednesday. “And we’re gonna cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women. And we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
Twitter users criticize the Trump family’s celebrations: “Sick glee.”
On Twitter, viewers of the clip called the backstage celebrations a “viewing party” for watching the violence.
“The Trump family hosted a viewing party to watch the terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol,” one user tweeted. “Kimberly Guilfoyle & Don Jr. say ‘fight’ with sick glee as they count down to the insurrection. Donald Trump stares at the screen, awaiting the violence he incited.”
Another wrote: “Trump Jr says, ‘A few more minutes, and we’ll have a live stream in.’ Then Kimberley says for them to fight. Trump shakes his head when the ambulance goes by as if that’s too bad. This is knowing what’s about to happen. They had a viewing party to watch it unfold and were waiting.”
And a third person said: “I deleted my post calling this an insurrection viewing party because, strictly speaking, it’s a pre-insurrection viewing party. Still absolutely chilling and disturbing viewing.”