Commentators have been divided over the significance of newly released text messages that show Fox News hosts urged then-President Donald Trump in real time to do more to stop the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Everyone agrees Jan. 6 was bad, the question is who’s to blame.
After the texts by Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Brian Kilmeade were made public Monday, a debate erupted online and in the press over whether the Fox News stars should be proud or ashamed of what they said.
A Twitter exchange between The Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro and Tablet editor Noam Blum summed up the two main competing takes.
No but it absolutely shows that they tried to cover for him after the fact by pretending Jan 6 was no big deal when they clearly were all panicking as it was happening. It indicts Trump for inaction and them for gigantic hypocrisy. https://t.co/GGuqExMWoF
— Noam Blum (@neontaster) December 14, 2021
Shapiro, articulating the “MAGA” position, suggested the texts to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows only proved the hosts, “plus Donald Trump Jr.,” opposed the violence that took place on Jan. 6.
- That’s the opposite of proof of the kind of “coordinated conspiracy to overthrow the government” imagined by some on the left, Shapiro sarcastically implied.
Blum, speaking for many Trump critics, countered that Ingraham, Hannity and Kilmeade sounded much more worried in the texts than they have since on air.
- “It indicts Trump for inaction and them for gigantic hypocrisy,” he said.
Trump Jr. declined media requests for comment.
The texts were made public Monday after Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., read them aloud during a hearing of the House committee investigating the pro-Trump riot that breached the Capitol on Jan. 6.:
- Ingraham, the host of “The Ingraham Angle”: “Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
- Hannity, the host of “Hannity”: “Please get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished.”
- Kilmeade, a co-host of “Fox & Friends”: “Please, get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished.”
- Trump Jr: “We need an oval office address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far. And gotten out of hand. … He’s got to condemn this sh*t ASAP.”
Meadows responded in a text to Trump Jr.: “I’m pushing it hard. I agree.”
“These texts leave no doubt,” Cheney said after reading the messages. “The White House knew exactly what was happening at the Capitol.”
- Committee members voted 9-0 during Monday’s hearing to recommend Meadows be charged with contempt of Congress.