“It is really bad up here on the hill.”
“The president needs to stop this ASAP.”
“Fix this now.”
Cheney reads the texts from Republicans to former Chief of Staff Meadows on 1/6:pic.twitter.com/2peJEHkcvi
— The Recount (@therecount) December 14, 2021
Fox News’ most prominent hosts also frantically texted Trump’s former chief of staff, begging him to compel the president to tell the crowd to leave. Cheney, the ranking Republican on the Jan. 6 committee, read several of those texts aloud on Monday night prior to the committee voting unanimously to advance criminal contempt proceedings against Meadows.
“Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol,” Sean Hannity texted Meadows, according to Cheney.
“Please get him on TV,” Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade pleaded. “Destroying everything you have accomplished.”
Even firebrand Laura Ingraham urged calm. “Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,” she wrote. “This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.”
Liz Cheney outs Fox News hosts as texting Mark Meadows and telling Trump to stop the violence. pic.twitter.com/xIfaA95RbH
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) December 14, 2021
Meadows has refused to cooperate with the committee, but turned over thousands of pages of material — some damning bits of which the committee has detailed — before he decided to stonewall it last week.
Cheney went on to say that these texts leave “no doubt” that the White House knew of the violence that was unfolding at the Capitol as it happened. Even Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., texted Meadows “again and again, urging action by the president,” Cheney said.
“We need an oval office address,” Trump Jr. wrote. “He’s got to condemn this shit ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough.”
Here's another lawmaker who texted Meadows on Jan. 7: pic.twitter.com/NUiOciaBEC
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) December 14, 2021
Perhaps the most desperate texts came from the people, including lawmakers and members of the media, who were trapped inside the Capitol as the mob overtook the building. “We are under siege here at the Capitol,” one text read, according to Cheney. “They have breached the Capitol,” read another.
“Mark, protesters are literally storming the Capitol, breaking windows on doors, rushing in. Is Trump going to say something?” one text read.
“There’s an armed standoff at the House chamber door,” another said.
“We are all helpless,” read another, simply. Some of those texts came from Punchbowl News founder Jake Sherman, he tweeted on Tuesday.
“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.
Trump finally addressed the protesters at 4:15 p.m., more than three hours after his speech at the Stop the Steal rally that preceded the riot concluded. In the video, which he posted to Twitter, Trump first spewed election lies before telling the protesters to leave the Capitol. “We had an election that was stolen from us,” Trump said. “But you have to go home now. We have to have peace,” he added later.
Trump never gave an Oval Office address.
This breaking news story has been updated.