Moments after President Donald Trump became the first president in history to be impeached twice, Fox News host Pete Hegseth on Wednesday grasped at straws for a defense: “What happened happened,” he said, and besides, Trump literally never used the word “insurrection.”
Appearing on Fox News’ The Five, the unwaveringly pro-Trump Fox & Friends Weekend host first excoriated the impeachment process, complaining that Democratic “hyperbole was off the charts” because they used terms like “sedition” and “insurrection” to describe the Capitol riots in which five people, including a police officer, were killed.
Hegseth, who has spent much of Trump’s term advising him to pardon war criminals, loudly defended both the president and the throng of “Stop the Steal” protesters who gathered in Washington last week.
“When you talk to Trump supporters, there is a feeling that for the most part, this was a protest that got out of hand,” the host said while describing a seditious riot that left five dead. “They heard the president speak. He talked about being peaceful and patriotic.”
The pro-Trump host, who has been an enthusiastic booster of the president’s false claims of a “stolen” election, then said that there was a “lot of frustration on the ground” but that the crowd was never incited to be violent.
“Overwhelmingly, what you didn’t see from the crowd or the words from the president, was ‘insurrection’ or ‘incitement to violence,’” he declared.
Ultimately, Hegseth shruggingly said of the deadly riot: “What happened happened.” He added: “We can talk about it and deal with it.”
Hegseth’s defense of the pro-Trump insurrectionists was similar to what he said the day after the Capitol riots: “These are people that understand first principles, they love freedom and they love free markets.”
After thoroughly dismissing the insurrectionist riot and any Trump role in it, Hegseth grumbled about the ten House Republicans who joined Democrats in voting for impeachment, describing them as “RINOs on the right.”
“There’s not a Republican out there looking to go back to the years of Bush-Cheney,” he concluded. “At least the 75 million that supported President Trump. I don’t necessarily know what that play is either. It was a messy day, sad day.”