Trump releases song with 'choir' of January 6 defendants
Former US President Donald Trump has released a song with a group of defendants accused of participating in the January 6th US Capitol riot that combines the "The Star Spangled Banner" with Trump reciting the "Pledge of Allegiance".
Dubbed "Justice for All", the recording - featuring singers identified as the "J6 Prison Choir"- has been posted on streaming platforms, such as Spotify, iTunes and YouTube. The song ends with the inmates chanting “USA!”
Forbes, which first reported the project, said Trump's portion of the undertaking was recorded recently at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida home, while the prisoners recorded their part over a jailhouse phone.
"We don't have, at least I don't have, an exact roster of each of the 20 individuals who make up the prison choir," Hofstra University law professor James A. Sample told Reuters. "But the fact that they are in prison indicates that they've been convicted, or if they're being held without bail, in a rare instance, that they are facing some of the most serious charges that are out there related to January 6th."
"The legal process in this nation has determined that some of the offences are so severe as to rise to the level of sedition," Sample said. "And yet, a former president is not only not rejecting that but is embracing it. It says an awful lot about the nature of our discourse, the nature of the coarseness of our politics in the current era."
Proceeds from the sale of the song - at $1.29 per download - are to be directed to the families of those detained, Forbes reported, citing a source with knowledge of the project.
"It is incongruous to use the Pledge of Allegiance to support defendants of violent insurrection against the Capitol, " said A&M University communications professor Jennifer Mercieca, who has written extensively about Trump's political rhetoric. "Of course, Donald Trump's explanation would be that, in fact, these are real patriots. And, you know, he has maintained throughout that what happened on January 6th was neither his fault nor an insurrection."
Five officers ultimately died and more than 140 police officers were injured after Trump's supporters violently breached the US Capitol as lawmakers and then-vice president, Mike Pence, were set to certify Trump's loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 elections.
About 950 people have so far been arrested for allegedly taking part in the riot, with more than 500 being found guilty. Trump is under federal investigation for his role in the events of January 6th by special counsel Jack Smith.