WASHINGTON (The Hill) – As rioters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, several leading Fox News pundits and Donald Trump’s eldest son all voiced desperate concerns that the former president was doing nothing to quell the violence and protect those in the building, according to damning text messages unveiled Monday night by the select committee investigating the attack.
The stunning messages, submitted to the panel by Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, revealed that Sean Hannity, Brian Kilmeade and Laura Ingraham — all superstar Fox personalities with enormous conservative followings — and Donald Trump, Jr. were all pressing Meadows to convince the president to intervene during the early hours of the siege.
“He’s got to condemn this s–t ASAP,” Donald Trump Jr. texted Meadows as the attack was underway.
“I’m pushing it hard. I agree,” Meadows replied.
But when the president still did not act, his eldest son reached out again to Trump’s chief of staff, according to Jan. 6 Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who read the series of texts during a hearing Monday night.
“We need an Oval Office address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand,” Trump Jr. texted.
Around the same time, a trio of Fox News hosts were also bombarding Meadows with text messages, trying to get Trump to call off the attack.
“Mark, president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home. This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy,” Ingraham texted.
“Please get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished,” added Kilmeade.
“Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol,” texted Hannity.
Meadows also received dozens of texts from GOP lawmakers, staffers and members of the press trapped inside the Capitol during the assault, Cheney said.
“We are under siege here at the Capitol,” read one text. “They have breached the Capitol,” read another.
A third person texted: “Mark, protesters are literally storming the Capitol. Breaking windows on doors, rushing in. Is Trump going to say something?”
A fourth person told Meadows: “There’s an armed standoff at the House chamber door.”
A fifth person inside the Capitol wrote: “We are all helpless.”
Across the administration, Trump officials also pleaded for Meadows to convince Trump to intervene. Messages read: “Someone is going to get killed” and “POTUS needs to calm this s–t down.”
The shocking messages, coming from some of Trump’s closest conservative allies and a family member, were revealed during Monday’s hearing to hold Meadows in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about the documents he provided to the committee.
The texts reveal how the select Jan. 6 committee is methodically building its case against Trump, who for more than three hours refused to tell his rioting supporters to stop the attack and go home.
“The violence was evident to all; it was covered in real time by almost every news channel. But for 187 minutes, President Trump refused to act when action by our president was required, essential and indeed compelled by his oath to our Constitution …” Cheney said during the hearing.
“Hours passed without necessary action by the president. These non privileged texts are further evidence of President Trump’s supreme dereliction of duty during those 187 minutes.”