NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - “I absolutely would take it back right now, if I could. Again, I apologize and I’m sorry and I hurt a lot of people,” says Donald Rouse Sr.
Donald Rouse Sr. spoke out about his decision to attend the Trump rally in Washington D.C. on January 6th, just before crowds stormed the Capitol.
The Rouse’s co-owner made a statement and answered questions on WBOK radio talk show.
“I would like to apologize to Rouses’ customers, the community as a whole, my son and my family and most importantly, Rouses’ team members who in New Orleans are majority African Americans. All of these people are innocent, but they are paying the price for my poor judgement and that hurts me terribly,” says Rouse.
Rouse says he attended the rally only for the historical purpose of it and had no idea what was going to unfold that afternoon.
“I did not hear of any uprising or any of that. I went for the reason I told you. I stayed for about three quarters of his speech,” says Rouse.
He says he went back to his hotel, had lunch, took a nap and then later turned on the T.V. to see what was going on.
“That’s when I saw the mess that these idiots were causing in the Capitol. I stayed in the hotel because I didn’t feel safe,” says Rouse.
A picture of Rouse, among the crowd at the Trump rally, prompted calls to boycott his grocery stores.
“I felt a little bit out of place, but I was there. I accept responsibility for being there. I just feel bad for our team members who are being harmed by my poor judgement,” says Rouse.
A Rouses team member, who does not want to be identified, told FOX 8 employees are suffering.
“I want our customers to come back. I want them to know that’s not what we represent. We do take care of them. We want them to come back. They help us to pay our bills,” says the employee.
Rouse appeared on the WBOK radio show with his long time friend, Terrebonne NAACP president Jerome Boykins, who implored listeners to look at Rouse’s record.
“Mr. Rouse is a member of the NAACP, and for over 20 years, Mr. Rouse has been giving scholarships to NAACP kids in our community,” says Boykins.
Actor Wendell Pierce joined the conversation and expressed why he believed Rouse was complicit to what unfolded that day.
“The minute that you were aware that this was happening, whether you knew or not before, you needed to disclaim it, and that didn’t happen,” says Pierce.
“I absolutely had no idea. I absolutely got out of Washington as quickly as I could after. Have I waited too long to speak, probably so,” says Rouse.
Rouse says the company has formed a community committee. The committee, he says, will work on way to better serve the community’s needs.
Copyright 2021 WVUE. All rights reserved.