Meadows: ‘Leaked’ text messages from Fox News hosts have been ‘weaponized’ by committee
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said text messages he was sent by Fox News opinion hosts amid the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol have been “weaponized” in an attempt to cast former President Trump in a negative light.
“They’ve got reports of text messages they say that you gave them that show Fox hosts saying, ‘Hey, you gotta get this under control, Trump needs to say something. Don Jr. saying something,’ ” a host on conservative news network Newsmax said to Meadows on Monday night after the select congressional committee investigating the Capitol riot revealed the texts.
“What’s your response to all this tonight?”
Meadows said he has tried to be “very transparent and accommodating” with the committee.
“We’ve tried very hard, in a very transparent and accommodating way, to share nonprivileged information,” Meadows said. “And what we found out tonight is that not only did that just get disregarded, but then they tried to weaponize text messages, selectively leaked them, to put out a narrative, quite frankly, that the president didn’t act.”
The committee on Monday revealed a number of text messages from Fox News hosts Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Brian Kilmeade sent to Meadows on Jan. 6 begging him to get the president to do something to stop the attack.
“Mark, president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy,” Ingraham texted Meadows, according to phone records obtained by the committee.
Kilmeade, in his own text message to Meadows, told him the attack was “destroying everything you have accomplished.”
None of the three hosts outed by the committee as having texted Meadows on Jan. 6 acknowledged their messages to the former chief of staff during their daily shows on Monday and Tuesday morning.
Meadows did appear on Hannity’s program, asserting that Trump “acted quickly” to quell the violence that broke out at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Newsmax, which carries a decidedly smaller audience than Fox, has emerged as an alternative conservative news network for viewers loyal to Trump as the former president and his allies have criticized the network, and other outlets in the mainstream press for debunking his false claims about election integrity during and after the 2020 presidential contest.
“A lot of conservative media runs away from this story,” host Rob Schmitt said while interviewing Meadows on Monday. “We’re not afraid of it here. I think it’s a grossly overexaggerated story. I also think it was a very bad day for this country. I don’t think it was anywhere near as bad as the Democrats think.”
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