The Dirty Little Secret Revealed by Meadows’ Texts
(CNN) – They knew it. They all know that.
the Posted on Monday The evening messages sent to Trump’s former White House secretary general, Mark Meadows, on Jan. 6 amount to alarm when it comes to finding out whether those in and around the president knew of the insurgency. He had to play.
There was Donald Trump Jr.: “You have to condemn this shit ASAP.”
Sean Hannity: “Can you make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol?”
Laura Ingraham: “Mark, the president has to tell the people on Capitol Hill to go home. It hurts us all. It’s destroying his legacy.”
and Brian Kilmedy: “Please put him on TV. Destroy everything he’s done.”
There is no doubt that at the time, not only those with Trump’s ear, from his eldest son to his Fox News aides, were aware of what was happening in the United States Capitol, but they were also pressing Meadows (and presumably Trump) to do something about that.
As you may remember, Trump did nothing for several hours (even while looting the Capitol). When he finally released a video message in response to the riot, it was nothing short of rude.
“I know their pain and I know they were hurt,” Trump said. “We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a crushing election and everyone knows it, especially the other party.” He added, “It was a rigged election, but we can’t play these people. We must have peace. So go home. We love you. You are so special.”
Trump’s lack of quick and convincing response is compounded by the apparent urgency of the warnings he was receiving from the people around him. The Meadows texts are also a bitter reprimand for the attempt to rewrite that day, not only by Trump, but also by his Republican supporters in Congress.
Remember, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has spent most of this year belittling what Trump knew and when he did.
“From what I spoke to President Trump, I was the first person he called when the riots were happening,” McCarthy told Chris Wallace in April about his phone call with Trump that day. “He didn’t see him. What he ended the call was saying…Telling me he’s going to put something in to make sure he stops this. That’s what he did, take a video later.”
This is not what happened. Here’s what happened, according to a February report from Jimmy Gangel, Kevin Liptak, Michael Warren, and CNN’s Marshall Cohen:
Speaking to the president from inside the besieged Capitol, McCarthy pressured Trump to withdraw his supporters and became embroiled in a sharp disagreement over who was in the crowd. Trump’s comment that potential rebels cared more about the election results was first mentioned by McCarthy by Representative Jaime Herrera Butler, a A Republican from Washington State, at City Hall earlier this week, confirmed to CNN Herrera Butler and other Republicans who saw the conversation.”
The point here is simple: Those close to Donald Trump spent January 6 trying to make it clear that what was happening in the United States Capitol had to stop, and that he was the only one who could make it happen. He spent hours refusing to do anything, and when he finally posted a video asking his followers to disperse, it was filled with conversations about a “rigged” election and the result being “stolen” from us.
What is really surprising is that this is not the worst of what these texts reveal. The worst thing is this: Even knowing what Trump was told on January 6 about the seriousness of what was happening, many of these people spent the same last year doing their best to minimize everything, arguing that the whole thing was overstated by the media and their Democratic facilitators.
That, to me, is the really terrible thing about all of this. Figure out the right thing (and even ask Trump, for now, to do the right thing) and then spend the next 11 months publicly pretending that you didn’t? gross.
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