On January 6, as a mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the United States Capitol in a deadly failed insurrection, former President Donald Trump—whose repeated lies about the 2020 election prompted the riot in the first place—was uncharacteristically silent.
Just before the rioters shattered windows, beat police officers, ransacked offices, and called for the execution of any lawmaker they perceived as disloyal to Trump, the former President delivered a speech just blocks away from the Capitol, urging his supporters to "fight" to make their voices heard.
As news broke that Vice President Mike Pence—whom rioters were calling to hang for his refusal to unilaterally throw out electoral votes of swing states Trump lost—was escorted out of the chamber, Trump posted a tweet "didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution".
Though Trump would post two tweets calling for rioters to support law enforcement and keep their ransacking of the Capitol peaceful, it wouldn't be until after four o'clock—hours after the attack unfolded—that Trump finally told them to go home, noting that he loved them and that they were "very special."
Trump's initial refusal to call off the rioters was a major focus of his second impeachment trial. News eventually broke that he'd gotten into a shouting match with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, dismissing McCarthy's pleas for Trump to call them off.
Now, the House Select Committee has revealed text messages between Trump's former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, and multiple Fox News hosts and even the former President's own son, Don Jr., imploring Meadows to persuade Trump to act.
Anti-Trump Republican Liz Cheney disclosed details of the texts in a recent committee meeting.
Far-right Fox News host Laura Ingraham wrote to Meadows:
"Mark, the President needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy."
Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade texted:
"Please. Get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished."
Longtime Trump ally and primetime Fox host Sean Hannity said:
"Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol."
Don Jr. told Meadows:
"He's got to condemn this s**t ASAP. The Capitol police tweet is not enough."
Meadows responded to Trump Jr.'s text saying that he agreed and was "pushing it hard," but it wouldn't be for hours that Trump finally told his supporters to go home.
Trump Jr. later texted:
"We need an Oval Office address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand."
Even more astonishingly, the same Fox News hosts who were acknowledging Trump's role in inciting the riots, as well as his singular power to stop them, have repeatedly downplayed the severity of the riots and Trump's part in them in the months since the flames died down.
Hannity later said:
“I’d like to know who the agitators were. ... [T]hose who truly support President Trump … do not support those that commit acts of violence.”
“I do not know Trump supporters that have ever demonstrated violence that I know of in a big situation."
“They were likely not all Trump supporters. I have never seen Trump rally attendees wearing helmets, black helmets, brown helmets, black backpacks — the uniforms you saw in some of these crowd shots.”
All of these statements were made on air within 36 hours after the Capitol riots, and the trio have continued to push similar sentiments to their millions of viewers.
People didn't hesitate to call out this hypocrisy.
They also found it shady that members of the media were comfortable texting then-President Trump's chief of staff in hopes of influencing the White House's decisions.
Though all of these Fox hosts have tweeted about unrelated topics in the time since their texts were disclosed, none of them have directly addressed these disturbing revelations.