Why is this news? Why is this being used as evidence of anything by the partisan kangaroo court posing as a House select committee investigating the events of January 6? Text messages by Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade and Sean Hannity were read aloud by Rep. Liz Cheney during last night’s hearing. Who cares?
“According to the records, multiple Fox News hosts knew the president needed to act immediately,” Cheney said. “They texted Mark Meadows, and he has turned over those texts.” Fox News propagandists Ingraham, Hannity and Brian Kilmeade all wanted Meadows to make some kind of exhortation to the rioters. Kilmeade, who co-hosts the nauseating “Fox & Friends,” called upon Meadows e to “please get him [that is, Trump] on TV” because the riot was “destroying everything you have accomplished.” Hannity wanted Trump to “make a statement” and “ask people to leave the Capitol.” “Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” host Laura Ingraham texted Meadows. “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
1. It is disturbing that Fox News personnel felt they had a direct line into the White House. That’s worth investigating.
2. However, the opinions of Fox News journalists, or any journalists, about what President Trump’s response to the rioting should be has no value whatsoever in assessing responsibility and accountability. The fact that Ingraham, Hannity and Kilmeade (and apparently Don Jr) wanted Trump to step into a riot and act as if he were controlling events or could control events is irrelevant. They aren’t experts, authorities, or, in the cases of Hannity, Kilmeade and Junior, even especially bright. So they sent texts. What is that supposed to prove?
3. It is the height of hypocrisy for Democrats (and a NeverTrumper like Cheney) to suddenly appeal to these individuals’ authority when they have consistently opposed their opinions on every other occasion.
4. This is a retroactive gotcha!, a double bind and Catch 22; nobody should be fooled or convinced by it. Trump never told his supporters to riot or try to storm the Capitol. It’s bad enough that he encouraged them to protest. However, their actions on January 6—stupid, pointless, reckless conduct that could only have one result, disgrace—were not Trump’s fault or responsibility. If he acted as though all he had to do was whistle them back like well-trained attack dogs, Democrats would have a smoking gun to maintain that he sicced them on the Capitol as part of the world’s most absurd “insurrection.” Indeed, they insist this is true anyway. but Trump was wise (for once) not to play into their hands. Meadows, then, was correct either not to deliver Ingraham et al.’s frenzied demands on the President or to advise him to treat the entreaties as they deserved to be treated…by ignoring them.
5. Did President Obama ever direct the Ferguson rioters to stand down and be peaceful? Did he make such an entreaty to the Baltimore rioters when Freddie Gray died? As an ex-President, Obama still has presumed influence in the black community: did he ever publicly deplore the George Floyd rioting and ask that it stop? Nope. Moreover, all of those violent protests were larger, of much longer duration and far more damaging than the January 6, 2021 riots. I believe, in all three cases, Obama knew that his pleas would have no effect, and thus would end up diminishing his perceived power and influence without accomplishing anything. I’m sure Trump knew this applied to him as well on January 6. He had let the metaphorical genie out of the bottle, and knew he wouldn’t be able to stuff it back in.
6. Another irony: the same people who accused Trump of being an autocrat now want to fault him for not behaving like a king or dictator. The President of the United States has no legitimate power to order citizens to do or not do anything. The United States of America was already doing what it could—badly—to end the rioting. It was literally not the President’s job.