Republicans who texted Mark Meadows on Jan. 6 believe it’s ‘inexcusable’ that Trump waited to act: report
In 2022, many Republicans — from members of Congress to pundits for Fox News and Fox Business — don’t like to talk about the insurrection of January 6, 2021 and are hoping that voters will forget about the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol Building. But that attack was certainly on the minds of Republicans when it was taking place. And according to CNN reporters Jamie Gangel, Jeremy Herb and Elizabeth Stuart, texts sent to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that day indicate that some of them believed that then-President Donald Trump should have done more to stop the attack.
“Within minutes of the U.S. Capitol breach on January 6, 2021, messages began pouring into the cell phone of White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows,” the CNN journalists report in an article published on June 2. “Among those texting were Republican members of Congress, former members of the Trump Administration, GOP activists, Fox personalities — even the president's son. Their texts all carried the same urgent plea: President Donald Trump needed to immediately denounce the violence and tell the mob to go home.”
A text to Meadows from Donald Trump, Jr. at 2:53 p.m. eastern time on January 6, 2021 read, “He's got to condem (sic) this shit. Asap.” And at 3:09 p.m., former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus wrote, “TELL THEM TO GO HOME !!!"
At 3:13 p.m., Tom Price, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, texted Meadows and wrote, “POTUS should go on air and defuse this. Extremely important.”
Gangel, Herb and Stuart explain, “One of the key questions the January 6 House committee is expected to raise in its June hearings is why Trump failed to publicly condemn the attack for hours, and whether that failure is proof of ‘dereliction of duty’ and evidence that Trump tried to obstruct Congress' certification of the election. The Meadows texts show that even those closest to the former president believed he had the power to stop the violence in real time.”
Farah Griffin, former director of strategic communications for the Trump Administration, texted Meadows at 3:13 p.m. during the attack, writing, “Potus has to come out firmly and tell protesters to dissipate. Someone is going to get killed.”
Interviewed for Gangel, Herb and Stuart’s article, Farah — now a conservative pundit for CNN — recalled, “I thought the president could stop it and was the only person who could stop it. When he finally tweeted something hours and hours later, there are reports of people inside the building saying, 'He's saying to go home.' They would have listened to him.”
Former Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney also texted Meadows during the Capitol siege, writing, “Mark: he needs to stop this, now. Can I do anything to help?” And Mulvaney told CNN, “I wish someone had responded to my outreach.”
Some of the Republicans CNN interviewed spoke only on condition of anonymity. A former Trump Administration official told CNN, “He failed at being the president."
Another Republican, described by the CNN reporters as a “Meadows associate,” believes that Trump waited way too long to act — saying, “Two hours is just inexcusable…. When the safety of the federal government is in question, you have the duty immediately to speak out. And Trump was derelict in that duty.”
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