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Republicans maintain Trump’s pre-election behavior wasn’t harbinger of Capitol riot

Although former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is shocked by the deadly riot that took place at the United States Capitol on Wednesday, he’s standing by the reasoning that informed his earlier prediction that President Trump would leave office “presidentially.” Mulvaney wasn’t defending Trump’s actions — in fact, he resigned as envoy to North Ireland over the president’s handling of the incident — but he doesn’t think he should have seen it all coming.

Mulvaney told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday that while it may be easy for people who have always opposed the president to criticize his supporters for lack of foresight, he had seen a very different president during his time in the White House. Mulvaney did let Trump off the hook a little, as well, stating that what really surprised him was the fact that people took Trump’s “fiery” rhetoric literally. “The country is different than I expected,” he said.

Not everyone is buying Mulvaney’s argument, but Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) also thinks Trump underwent a sea change following after Election Day. Toomey, who endorsed Trump’s re-election bid and voted for him, has recently emerged as one of the GOP’s stronger Trump critics, and has called on him to resign following the riot, but his comments suggest he doesn’t consider the turn of events to have been inevitable.

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