Fox News hosts, Republican lawmakers and Donald Trump’s oldest son all texted the former president’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, as the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was unfolding, pleading for the then-president to do something and stop the destruction unfolding in the halls of Congress, according to text messages read during a meeting of the House select committee investigating the attack on Monday.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a co-chair of the House panel, read aloud a series of text messages between some of Trump’s most vocal supporters and Meadows during a unanimous, 9-0, vote to recommend that the former Trump aide be held in contempt of Congress for his refusal to testify before lawmakers.
“Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol?” Fox News’ Sean Hannity texted to Meadows during the riot, seeking action from Trump.
“Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham texted.
“Please get him on TV,” the network’s Brian Kilmeade wrote. “Destroying everything you have accomplished.”
Cheney said there were “dozens” of texts encouraging Meadows to intervene to encourage “immediate action by the president.” The Wyoming congresswoman, one of two Republicans on the select committee, said Donald Trump Jr. repeatedly texted Meadows during the Capitol riot.
“He’s got to condemn this shit ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough,” Trump Jr., texted.
“I’m pushing it hard,” Meadows replied. “I agree.”
“We need an Oval Office address. He has to lead now,” Trump Jr. said. “It has gone too far and gotten out of hand.”
Trump, however, did not respond to the pleas, an absence of action that Cheney called his “supreme dereliction of duty.”
As part of the select committee’s investigation, Meadows has turned over about 6,600 pages of records taken from his personal email accounts and about 2,000 text messages, The Associated Press reported Sunday. In one of those emails, Meadows said the National Guard would be available to “protect pro-Trump people” during the initial Jan. 6 gathering protesting the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The panel has said it wants to know more about those plans, but Meadows has so far refused to testify. He is the latest member of Trump’s inner circle who the panel has recommended be held in contempt of Congress. The list includes Trump’s former confidant and White House strategist Steve Bannon.