CNN has obtained more than 2,300 text messages between Mark Meadows, who served as former President Donald Trump’s last chief of staff, and other members of Trump’s inner circle, relating to attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and the attack on the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021.
The texts include interactions with Trump family members, cabinet officials, political supporters, conservative media personalities and dozens of Republican members of Congress, CNN reported on Monday.
While the texts include dozens of messages encouraging Trump to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, a number of text messages that were sent to Meadows on January 6 urged him to get Trump to call off his supporters’ violent breach of the Capitol building.
The messages appear to confirm that even Trump loyalists believed that the former president’s words were responsible for the attack — and that Trump should have told the mob of his loyalists to go home much sooner.
Even some of the staunchest Trump supporters were among those encouraging Meadows to tell the former commander in chief to end the violence at the Capitol that day.
“Please tell the President to calm people This isn’t the way to solve anything,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) texted Meadows.
Former chiefs of staff to Trump also texted Meadows during the attack.
“Mark: he needs to stop this, now,” said Mick Mulvaney, who served as Trump’s acting chief of staff before Meadows took over the job.
“TELL THEM TO GO HOME !!!” Trump’s first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, texted.
Trump’s eldest child, Donald Trump Jr., texted Meadows to tell him that his father had to end the violence that was happening in real time. “They will try to fuck his entire legacy on this if it gets worse,” Trump Jr. said.
It’s unclear whether these messages were ever forwarded from Meadows to Trump, but the communications make it clear that even Trump’s fiercest defenders recognized on January 6 that he had the power to end the violence at the Capitol.
Instead, Trump didn’t make a statement telling his loyalists to leave the Capitol until early in the evening, several hours after the attack started. In his statement, he praised those who had engaged in the violence, suggesting in a tweet that night that their actions had been justified.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
Stephanie Grisham, a former Trump press secretary who was serving as chief of staff for former First Lady Melania Trump at the time of the attack, said earlier this year that Trump appeared “gleeful” as he watched the attack unfold.
Trump “was in the dining room, gleefully watching on his TV as he often did, [saying] ‘look at all of the people fighting for me,’ hitting rewind, watching it again,” Grisham said in an interview in January following testimony she gave to the House select committee investigating the attack.