A song recorded by former President Donald Trump and the “J6 Prison Choir”—a group of men charged for their involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol—hit the number one spot on iTunes over the weekend.
The two-minute song is titled “Justice For All,” and features the Jan. 6 inmates singing the “Star Spangled Banner” interspersed with Trump reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The song ends with the choir repeatedly chanting “USA! USA!”
The song was released on March 3 and made it to the number two spot on the iTunes song charts on March 10, before surpassing “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus to reach the number-one spot on March 11.
The defendants were charged for entering the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, while lawmakers were certifying the 2020 election results for Joe Biden. In the weeks leading up to that day, Trump had challenged the election results and called supporters to Washington D.C. to protest on his behalf as he pursued the election challenges.
Meanwhile, many people charged with breaching the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 have found themselves incarcerated in the same wing of a Washington D.C. correctional facility. As many of the inmates remained in the prison for months while awaiting their trials, they began to form a chorus that would sing the national anthem every night at 9 p.m. The “J6 Prison Choir” formed as a result of this nightly tradition.
“J6 Prison Choir consists of individuals who have been incarcerated as a result of their involvement in the January 6, 2021 protest for election integrity after President Donald J. Trump stated ‘I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,'” the choir’s website reads. “The J6PC continues to make their voices heard through the power of music and sings ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ every evening before bed.”
Forbes reported that Trump recorded his portion of the song a couple of weeks prior at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, while the J6 Prison Choir recorded its part of the song using a jailhouse phone.
The song was released the day before Trump appeared at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Just days later, Fox News host Tucker Carlson began airing segments of newly released security footage recorded in and around the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, arguing that the footage contradicts predominant political and media narratives about the severity of some defendant’s actions that day.
Carlson showed footage of Jan. 6 defendant Jacob Chansley, otherwise known as the “Q-Anon Shaman,” being led around the Capitol by police officers who did not appear threatened by Chansley’s actions that day. Carlson argued the footage showed Chansley was a minimal security threat, even though he later pleaded guilty and received a sentence of more than three years in prison for his actions.
Prosecutors have argued the footage does not exonerate Chansley. The prosecutors said that the footage Carlson presented did not show how Chansley had shouted obscenities in the Senate chamber, and that Chansley had refused to be escorted out of the building until other officers arrived.
Choir Raising Money For Defendants
CNN reported that an unnamed Trump campaign advisor had denied that the former president’s involvement in the song has anything to do with his 2024 presidential campaign. Trump has shared some sympathy for the defendants, and has even proposed pardoning them if he regains office in 2024.
On its website, the J6 Prison Choir said it recorded the song and began selling vinyl copies to raise money for “certain prisoners denied their constitutional rights.”
Jan. 6 defendants have raised allegations that they’ve been subjected to lengthy stretches in solitary confinement and beatings by prison guards. A January 2022 inspection of the D.C. jail facilities holding Jan. 6 defendants by U.S. Marshals found “evidence of systemic failures,” including signs that water was shut off to inmates as punishment.
The song “Justice For All” gained popularity amid criticisms of Trump and Carlson’s recent comments about the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Numerous Democratic lawmakers and some Republicans condemned Carlson’s presentation of the events at the Capitol. Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was among the most prominent figures on the political right who criticized Carlson’s presentation of the Capitol security footage.
“It was a mistake in my view for Fox News to depict this in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks,” McConnell said.
The now-defunct Jan. 6 House select committee recommended charges against Trump before it disbanded. Those charges included insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding, making a false statement to the federal government, and conspiracy to defraud the federal government.
Trump has disputed blame for the chaos that unfolded at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The former president has pointed to calls for his supporters to be peaceful in their actions that day as well as a video he released after the violence broke out that day, urging supporters to go home.