Sarah Matthews, who was serving as former President Donald Trump‘s deputy White House press secretary during the events of January 6, 2020, testified in Thursday’s public hearing that Trump’s tweet criticizing then-Vice President Mike Pence gave rioters a “green light.”

“It was obvious that the situation at the Capitol was violent and escalating quickly, and so I thought that the tweet about the vice president was the last thing that was needed in that moment, and I remember thinking that this was gonna be bad for him to tweet this because it was essentially him giving the green light to these people,” Matthews told the House select committee that has been investigating the Capitol attack and its surrounding events for the past year.

“Telling them that what they were doing at the steps of the Capitol and entering the Capitol was ok, that they were justified in their anger,” she continued. “He shouldn’t have been doing that, he should’ve been telling these people to go home and to leave and to condemn the violence that we’re seeing.”

In the tweet, Trump criticized Pence for resisting pressure to go along with Trump and attorney John Eastman‘s plan for him to use his role as the overseer of the certification of President Joe Biden‘s 2020 win to reject certain electors from swing states and overturn the election results in favor of Trump.


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“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!” the tweet read.

Matthews added that she has witnessed firsthand how seriously Trump’s supporters take everything he says.

“I worked on the campaign, traveled all around the country going to countless rallies with him,” she said. “I’ve seen the impact that his words have on his supporters. They truly latch on to every word and every tweet that he says. And so I think that, at that moment, for him to tweet out the message about Mike Pence — it was him pouring gasoline on the fire and making it much worse.”

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