Hannity, Ingraham knock Jan. 6 panel after revelation of texts to Meadows
Fox News prime-time hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham defended their statements about the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Trump after text messages they sent to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on the day of the siege were revealed this week.
“I said to Mark Meadows the exact same thing I was saying live on the radio at that time and on TV that night on Jan. 6 and well beyond Jan. 6,” Hannity said Tuesday on his nightly cable program.
Hannity added he considers himself to be an “honest and straightforward person” and suggested it was an invasion of his privacy to have his private text messages to Meadows made public by the committee.
“I say the same thing in private that I say to all of you,” he told his television audience. “Liz Cheney knows this. She doesn’t seem to care. She’s interested in one thing and one thing only: smearing Trump and purging him from the party.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice chairwoman of the select committee, on Monday read into the congressional record a series of text messages sent to Meadows and obtained by the panel investigating the Capitol riot. Some of the messages were from Hannity, Ingraham and fellow Fox host Brian Kilmeade and showed them imploring Meadows to get the president to do something to stop the chaos playing out at the Capitol. The panel voted to hold Meadows in contempt on Monday for refusing to cooperate with its investigation.
“Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol,” Hannity texted Meadows as the riot was unfolding, the text messages show. Ingraham texted Meadows that Trump needed “to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” saying, “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
Critics of Fox pointed out on Monday that on Jan. 6, Ingraham had described the people who committed violence at the Capitol as “antithetical to the MAGA movement” and cited a report suggesting so-called far-left agitators could have infiltrated the crowd and been the ones responsible for the violent outbursts captured widely on video.
“Both publicly and privately I said what I believe: that the Jan. 6 breach at the Capitol was a terrible thing. Crimes were committed,” Ingraham said on her show Tuesday. “Some people were unfairly hounded and persecuted, but it was not an insurrection. To say anything different is beyond dishonest and it ignores the facts of that day.”
Ingraham also displayed for her audience on Tuesday some of her tweets on Jan. 6, including one where she wrote “anyone who thinks this is going to grow the MAGA movement is delusional” and said the attack “hurts the movement, the Trump legacy, and, of course, the country.”
Hannity played a clip on Tuesday from his daytime radio show on Jan. 6 during which he said “every good, decent, honorable American would condemn all violence and urge any protesters that want to go down that road,” before he added “there’s always going to be the agitators in some of these groups” and “the people who seem to always want to praise peaceful protesters are the media and the Democratic Party.”
Hannity on Tuesday again condemned the Jan. 6 attack and compared the violence that broke out at the Capitol to instances of civil unrest seen during demonstrations for racial justice and police reform following the murder of George Floyd and other minorities in 2020.
Fox contributor Geraldo Rivera, while appearing on Tuesday’s Hannity program, pressed the host about his text messages to Meadows.
“I beg you, Sean, to remember the frame of mind you were in when you wrote that text on Jan. 6 and when Laura did, and when Brian did, and when Don Jr. did. Remember the concern you had,” Rivera said.
“Yeah, because I wanted a riot to end,” Hannity interjected.
“You saw unfolding before your very eyes an attack on democracy, an attack on the constitution,” Rivera shot back.
Geraldo to Sean Hannity: “I beg you, Sean, to remember the frame of mind you weren’t when you wrote that text on January 6. And when Laura did. And when Brian did. And when Don Jr. did!”
Dan Bongino reacts by blasting Geraldo for “backstabbing” Trump. pic.twitter.com/YSPYfBwAf4
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) December 15, 2021
Hannity hosted Meadows on his program on Monday night but did not ask him about or reference the text messages between him and the former chief of staff, which had been read aloud by Cheney hours earlier. Appearing on Newsmax on Monday, Meadows said the messages he received from the Fox News hosts have been “weaponized” in an attempt to cast Trump in a negative light.
“The more they talk about Jan. 6, the stronger Trump and the GOP are becoming in the polls,” Ingraham said on Tuesday. “They’re all so out of touch.”
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