The U.S. Capitol Police announced on Monday that the lieutenant who fatally shot unarmed Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt inside the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack had acted lawfully and potentially saved members of Congress and their aides from serious harm or death.
The name of that officer, Lt. Michael Byrd, has never officially been released, but he chose to break the silence himself, sitting down for an interview with NBC News where he acknowledged that Babbitt being unarmed did not alter his decision making. Byrd also said he has been inundated with death threats since he shot the 35-year-old Air Force veteran.
Babbitt’s widower, Aaron Babbitt, appeared on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” and told host Tucker Carlson that he was “pissed” at the officer’s demeanor, having zero sympathy over the threats.
“I don’t even want to hear him talk about how he’s getting death threats and he’s scared,” Babbitt said. “I’ve been getting death threats since Jan. 7 — two, three, five, ten a day — and all I did on Jan. 6 was become a widower. So, you’re going to have to suck it up, bud, and take it.”
Carlson played clips of Byrd’s interview, in which the officer told NBC’s Lester Holt that he came forward to counter the misrepresentations of his actions that day and that he shot Babbitt as a “last resort” because she was “posing a threat to the House of Representatives.”
“I know that day I saved countless lives,” Byrd insisted.
(Video: Fox News)
“She was 5’2, she was unarmed, there were armed police in tactical gear standing right next to her on the other side of the door,” Carlson said. “She was not warned, the tape shows that — she was just executed. But she was a threat, that’s what he’s telling you. You’d think the fact again, Ashli Babbitt was a female who was 5’2, weighed 125 pounds soaking wet and had no weapon, might have suggested she wasn’t a threat, but according to Michael Byrd, no, never occurred to him.”
Byrd said of the threats, “They talked about, you know, killing me, cutting off my head, you know, very vicious and cruel things. There were some racist attacks as well. It’s all disheartening, because I know I was doing my job.”
Though concerned about identifying himself, Byrd was adamant that he “showed the utmost courage on January 6.”
“I showed the utmost courage by executing an unarmed woman without warning her first,” Carlson said in response to the remark. “That’s the utmost courage? If we live in a country where we let that pass, that’s courage — no, that’s not courage.”
He then asked Aaron Babbitt how he felt about Byrd suggesting he’s the real victim here.
“Pissed off,” he replied. “I’ve only heard a couple of clips at this point… I read the full transcript of it. I had not heard the one clip that you just played and my agitation level is actually going through the roof right now, where he admitted he didn’t really care if she was armed or not or unarmed or not.
“He didn’t care,” Babbitt repeated, the anger written across his face. “So yeah, we are going down a bad rabbit hole right now.”
Carlson pointed out that the national media “congratulated” Byrd and that the entire left gloated over his wife’s death “as if she deserved it because she voted for the wrong person.”
“I mean, they’re kind of saying, I’m sorry to make you feel even worse, I can’t imagine how you feel now, but they’re kind of saying that she deserved it and that her life had no meaning,” he added.
“They’ve been saying that. They’ve been saying that all along,” the grieving husband said.
Babbitt said only a few members of Congress have been helpful and pointed out that they have a legal fund set up.
“This is a David v. Goliath fight we’ve got going on here,” he said. “We need every dollar we can get because we are going to have the weight of the U.S. government coming down on us.”
“They’ve taken enough from you,” Carlson said in closing out the segment. “You’re not allowed to just shoot people and blow it off like it’s no big deal because you don’t like their politics. That is a precedent we don’t want.”
In clearing Byrd, the U.S. Capitol police announced: “The actions of the officer in this case potentially saved members and staff from serious injury and possible death from a large crowd of rioters who forced their way into the U.S. Capitol and to the House Chamber where members and staff were steps away.”
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