Fox News host Sean Hannity, who is usually in lockstep with Donald Trump, broke with the president on Monday’s edition of Hannity and condemned the armed anti-lockdown protesters in Michigan, Raw Story reported.
“In Michigan — I’m the number one supporter of the First Amendment and the Second Amendment,” Hannity said.
“Now, no one is a bigger defender of the Second Amendment than yours truly. Everyone has the right to protest, protect themselves, and try to get the country open. This, with the militia look here and these long guns? Uhhh, no.”
According to Hannity, putting on a show of force is “dangerous” and ineffective, as it puts police lives at risk and is unlikely to help one convey their message.
“No one should be attempting to intimidate officials with a show of force. And God forbid something happens, they’re going to go after all of us law-abiding Second Amendment people!”
Per Yahoo Entertainment, Fox News contributor and Trump ally Dan Bongino joined Hannity and offered a counterargument, claiming that the liberal media is attempting to portray the protesters as “lunatics.” Bongino, who is allegedly one of the social media influencers working with the White House to help the president with coronavirus messaging, suggested that this alleged media portrayal does not reflect the true character of the protesters. In response, Hannity noted that the demonstrators could easily conceal their weapons and said their decision to brandish them was motivated by a desire to intimidate.
As reported by The Guardian, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer slammed the protesters and suggested they were reviving “some of the worst racism” and “awful parts” of United States history. In particular, Whitmer pointed to the alleged presence of swastikas, nooses, and Confederate flags among the armed militia. The latter has become the center of controversy in recent years, with some arguing it’s a reflection of southern heritage and others claiming it’s a reminder of America’s racist past.
Conversely, Trump had kinder words for the dissidents, who often were not wearing protective face masks and carried assault rifles.
“These are very good people,” he said.
“We have to listen to the epidemiologist and health experts and displays like the one we saw at our capitol is not representative of who we are.” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reacts to protesters descending on her state’s capitol, including some who were armed. #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/lfPgGnpkGC
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) May 3, 2020
Outside of the disagreement on Michigan’s protesters, Hannity has been one of Trump’s most vocal and prominent allies, and his closeness to the president has drawn criticism for some. After Trump’s pre-Super Bowl interview with Hannity earlier this year, media analyst Matt Gertz blasted the conversation and claimed it contained propaganda. Gertz has notably reported on the link between Fox News broadcasts and Trump’s Twitter activity and suggested that the network has decided to forgo using its massive platform for journalism and push pro-Trump disinformation instead.