War-criminal advocate Pete Hegseth sounded not a bit chagrined that a MAGA mob violently attacked the Capitol and the certification of the election yesterday.
Hegseth, you may recall, has successfully lobbied Donald Trump to pardon convicted war criminals who massacred women and children. That’s the same Hegseth who postures as a strong law and order supporter when Blacks are doing the demonstrating.
This morning, though, Hegseth’s only criticism of the violence was, “I’m not saying it’s OK.” He didn’t say it wasn’t, though. He did, however, suggest that the violent mob was full of righteous people, righteously revolting against the country. Hegseth is not just some Fox News contributor, he's a cohost of Fox & Friends Weekend.
Media Matters has the transcript:
HEGSETH: These are not conspiracy theorists motivated just by lies — that's a bunch of nonsense that people want to tell us. These are people that understand first principles, they love freedom and they love free markets. And they see exactly what the anti-American left has done to America — indoctrinating our kids, opening our borders, canceling individuals, totally censoring entire viewpoints, all the double standards that exist in our country right now.
And then we're always told — and this is legitimate, this is the way republics are supposed to work — you get 'em at the ballot box, you come back two years later, and you get 'em at the ballot box. Well, and then what happens when you don't have that recourse?
And so, I'm actually not surprised, I wasn't surprised by what happened yesterday — I'm not saying it's OK — but I wasn't shocked. I recognize that people feel like the entire system is rigged against them. And then they look at what antifa and Black Lives Matter have gotten away with. And no, no, no. I'm sorry. You can't go to church, but I can riot during COVID, and I'm told that that's OK? But if we gather as a group, we're condemned for being a bunch of conspiracy theorists who are not patriotic.
I don't buy it, and I think it's easy to fall into the universal “these people are evil” approach, as opposed to stepping back and understanding that they feel like, if you can't go to the ballot box, where are you going go? And that's a legitimate question for people to answer today.
None of the cohosts, including Super Duper Christian Ainsley Earhardt, challenged Hegseth’s inflammatory, divisive rhetoric. Cohost Steve Doocy pushed back in the gentlest way possible. Noting that Trump’s lawyers have had two months of “legitimate chances in court to prove that there was mischief at the ballot box and they’ve been unable to do that,” Doocy added sympathetically, “I understand the frustration with all the people and you, obviously, are very frustrated that Donald Trump didn’t win because you’ve ben a big supporter of his, very clearly.”
“The people who gathered yesterday, though,” Doocy continued, “I mean, 99 percent of ‘em, a hundred percent, 99 percent, of them were peaceful. However, what was the rally about? … Were they there simply to support Donald Trump on the way out or were they there to actually overturn the election?"
Hegseth responded by painting the insurrection as patriotism:
HEGSETH: I talked to a lot of em. They were hopeful something could be done but most of them acknowledged it wasn't going to happen. They were there to support the president of the United States and defend our republic. And stand up and say I just want a fair shake. I understand what this country represents. I see how the left is trying to tear it down. And I see one man in Donald Trump who has been willing to fight undeterred the poisons of political correctness, expose the media for what they are which is a left-wing cabal completely silencing conservatives across the board. They told us Russia was the biggest problem we had for four years until they dropped it and it was exposed for being totally false. So you don't have to believe the election was stolen to know that the system has begun to undercut people who love our country. That's what they were there for. And it manifested at the Capitol in a different way. That doesn't mean you need to condemn the entire thing.
What was Earhardt’s concern? Not any need to tone down the rhetoric nor Hegseth’s condonation of the violence. No, her follow-up question was, “Does the president have a shot now after all of this if he runs again in four years?”
Watch the attempt to normalize, whitewash and sweep under the rug sedition below, from the January 7, 2021 Fox & Friends, via Media Matters.
Let’s be honest about who they were and are – they’re a group of angry Right Wingers. They’re members of Qanon, survivalist groups, white supremacist groups, Neo-Nazis, Klansmen and the rest of the deplorables who glommed onto the Pence White House and its childish spokesman. They adore Trump because he tells them what they want to hear – that it’s the stupid non-white person who’s responsible for them losing their job, for them not making the money their parents did, for them not having the success they think they deserve. They adore Trump because he reinforces their anger and their prejudices, just as Rush Limbaugh enriched himself by doing the same thing. They adore Trump because he emboldens them to puff themselves up and trying to bully everyone else rather than get along with anyone.
Their action of storming the Capitol was not that of “freedom fighters” or peaceful protesters with a genuine grievance – such as when the Republicans gleefully rammed Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett onto the Supreme Court and outraged crowds of citizens showed up to note how far out of line they were. Those citizens were willing to speak up in public about their condemnation of what Mitch McConnell and the Pence White House were doing to our judiciary, but they weren’t physically trying to attack the people in the building. Throughout the Pence White House’s miserable term, principled citizens have made clear that they will not dine with the Right Wingers who have worked to attack them repeatedly, and they’ve made clear that they will not just roll over while the Right Wing tried to bully them. But they didn’t attack them – they just politely asked them to leave various businesses or asked them questions in public that the Right Wingers would usually just refuse to answer.
The mob that attacked the Capitol yesterday, by contrast, was a group of the would-be bullies who’ve spent the last few years feeling emboldened to just attack everyone else because the Pence White House was getting away with it. It was the same group of people who spent the last few years screaming at anyone who had the temerity to point out facts, usually with the line “We won! You lost! Libtard!” And they spent much of this year being told by Right Wing propagandists that they were going to win the election in a landslide. They were presented false electoral maps that comforted them and predicted a lovely sweep for them. We saw the same problem in 2012, when the same propagandists predicted a Mitt Romney landslide – but in 2012, there wasn’t an open demagogue like Pence’s childish spokesman leading the charge. (At that time, Pence’s childish spokesman was on the sidelines tweeting his impertinence) So when they lost in 2012, they had a cold shower moment where they had to think about what they’d been told. For most of them, they just shook it off and rededicated them to trying the same strategy the next time – and it paid off for them in 2016 when 2-3 million Dem voters across the swing states stayed home and ceded the ground to them. This group of people celebrated their win for the past 4 years by an escalating series of hate crimes and bullying past anything we’d seen since the anti-civil rights crackdowns in the South in the 50s and 60s.
When the election went the other way in 2020, angry Right Wingers were totally unprepared for the reality. Since they were now used to bullying and screaming at everyone else, and since Pence’s childish spokesman continued to encourage them to do so, they figured that was the way to respond. Rather than learn from the loss, they doubled down and pretended that they’d actually won and could get away with just bullying the states and courts into taking the votes away from their neighbors so they could have their win. When that failed, they looked to their demagogue, who invited them to come to DC to “be tough” with the Congress to make sure they could have their way. It should not be a surprise that their approach was to rush the Capitol Building and try to bully the Congress in person.
The result of their attack is that 4 people are dead and the rest of the country and the world can easily see this mob for who they are. The mob’s response appears to have been to try to pretend that it was really “antifa” who suddenly infiltrated them and did the violence these guys have been doing for years. That line appears to have backfired, which is the one silver lining coming out of this tragedy.