A massive tranche of texts from former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows obtained by CNN shows how former President Trump’s allies went from pleading for a stop to the violence on Jan. 6 to affirming their support for Trump in the aftermath.
Why it matters: The more than 2,300 texts offer a rare glimpse into the communications between the White House and a network of Trump associates, Fox hosts and lawmakers in the period after the 2020 election.
- Meadows turned over the texts to the Jan. 6 select committee before ceasing his cooperation, prompting the House to refer him to the DOJ for contempt of Congress.
A Jan. 6 committee spokesperson declined Axios’ request for comment.
Driving the news: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was in frequent contact with Meadows during this timeframe, the texts show.
- On Dec. 31, 2020 she texted him, “We have to get organized for the 6th.”
- On Jan. 6, 2021 she texted, “Mark I was just told there is an active shooter on the first floor of the Capitol Please tell the President to calm people This isn’t the way to solve anything.”
- Later that day, however, she backtracked and began espousing an unfounded conspiracy theory about the rioters: “Mark we don’t think these attackers are our people. We think they are Antifa. Dressed like Trump supporters.”
By the next day, Greene had already integrated the “Antifa” narrative into her thinking and was apologizing to Meadows for failing to overturn the election.
- “I’m sorry nothing worked. I don’t think that President Trump caused the attack on the Capitol. It’s not his fault … He has been the greatest President. I will continue to defend him,” she texted.
- She said she denounced the violence, but “when people try everything and no one listens and nothing works, I guess they think they have no other choice.”
- On Jan. 17, Greene texted Meadows that “several” lawmakers said in a members-only chat said “the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law [sic],” calling for Trump to “declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!”
Other House members and Trump associates also texted Meadows on Jan. 6 to call for a stop to the violence.
- Former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney: “Mark: he needs to stop this, now. Can I do anything to help?”
- Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus: “TELL THEM TO GO HOME !!!”
- Rep. William Timmons (R-S.C.): “The president needs to stop this ASAP”
- Donald Trump Jr.: “This his one you go to the mattresses on. They will try to fuck his entire legacy on this if it gets worse.”
But some members took Greene’s route of quickly adapting their support for Trump to the new normal.
- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) texted on Jan. 6: “Cap Police told me last night they’d been warned that today there’d be a lot of Antifa dressed in red Trump shirts & hats & would likely get violent.”
- “I would like to pass to POTUS that we are still with him, I believe in him and I want to encourage him,” Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) texted on Jan. 9.
Editor’s note: This post was corrected to reflect that Rep. Andrew Clyde texted Meadows on Jan. 9, not Jan. 6.