Meadows falsely claims that Trump ‘acted quickly’ to quell Jan. 6 riot
Mark Meadows, the onetime chief of staff to former President Trump, said Monday that Trump moved swiftly to curb the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 — a claim contradicted by the events of the day, when Trump waited hours to urge his supporters to stand down.
In an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, Meadows said the critics of Trump’s response to the attack, including the lawmakers on the special congressional committee investigating the siege, are merely longtime Trump adversaries attempting to rewrite history so that it “fits their narrative.”
“One of the things that is coming out more and more clearly each and every day is that everyone condemned what happened in terms of the breach of security on the Capitol on Jan. 6,” Meadows said.
He went on to argue that Trump had requested thousands of National Guard troops to be deployed on Jan. 6, suggesting the violence would have been prevented if only the Pentagon had complied. And he accused Democrats of cherry-picking the narrative of Trump’s actions that day “to spin some nefarious purpose.”
“At the end of the day, they’re going to find that not only did the president act, but he acted quickly,” Meadows told Hannity.
Emails and text messages that Meadows submitted to the select committee, however, tell a different story.
Meadows, as Trump’s right-hand man, had a front-row seat to the president’s response as the violence at the Capitol unfolded. And the trove of documents that Meadows turned over to investigators reveals that he was fielding desperate messages from Trump’s eldest son, GOP lawmakers and the leading pundits at Fox News — including Hannity — urging Meadows to convince Trump to tell his supporters to end the siege and go home.
News reports have also revealed that Meadows was working behind the scenes with Ivanka Trump, the former president’s elder daughter, in an effort to press her father to make a public statement urging an end to the insurrection.
The elder Trump, alone in his private dining room watching the riot on television, resisted those pleas for hours. After the Capitol building was breached at 2:11 p.m., Trump’s first public statement was a tweet attacking former Vice President Mike Pence, himself a target of the rioters, for lacking “the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country.” That was at 2:24 p.m.
In a second tweet, at 3:13 p.m., Trump encouraged his supporters to “remain peaceful” and “respect” the police officers in the Capitol — a message that even his closest allies said was inadequate, since it suggested the rioters were welcome visitors in the Capitol.
“Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol,” Hannity texted Meadows, according to the phone records obtained by the select committee.
“He’s got to condemn this shit ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough,” Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s eldest son, echoed in his own text to Meadows.
“I’m pushing it hard. I agree,” Meadows responded.
At 4:17 p.m., Trump released a video statement in which he repeated his false claim that the election was stolen, then told his supporters at the Capitol to “go home.”
“We love you,” he added. “You’re very special.”
The long delay between the start of the violence and Trump’s explicit request to subdue it has not been overlooked by the leaders of the select committee investigating the attack.
“The violence was evident to all; it was covered in real time by almost every news channel. But for 187 minutes, President Trump refused to act when action by our president was required, essential and indeed compelled by his oath to our Constitution,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chair of the panel, said during a Monday night hearing.
Moments later, the committee voted to recommend that Meadows be charged with criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before the panel, despite a subpoena, on the documents he provided. The full House is expected to approve that resolution on Tuesday afternoon.