The Daily Beast:
Editors and reporters at the staunchly pro-Trump conservative outlet Breitbart News privately clashed over whether President Donald Trump was to blame for last week’s deadly Capitol riot, according to internal messages reviewed by The Daily Beast.
“I am just not feeling charitable AT ALL,” international news editor Frances Martel posted to Slack the morning after the rioting that left five people dead, including a police officer. “Destroy Trump.”
Martel lamented that Trump’s support for the MAGA mob had undone a decade’s worth of conservative politics, leaving the Republican Party “in shambles” and dimming the right-wing movement’s prospects.
“He set us back like 10 years,” Martel wrote. “We have worked so hard to promote our values, values that made him president when he hawked them, and now he does this, leaving everything in shambles? Nah, destroy him. Let it be a lesson to every other ‘populist.’”
Breitbart, like other outlets closely tied to Trump, has shied away from ever directly criticizing him, especially for his election-fraud lies and heated rhetoric leading up to the deadly riot. But the internal chat messages demonstrate that anger over the outgoing president’s role in inciting the MAGA mob has reached even the Trumpiest strongholds of right-wing media.
“I do blame Trump for all of this,” wrote senior editor-at-large Rebecca Mansour at one point, before referring to rioter Ashli Babbitt, a QAnon supporter who was fatally shot by Capitol police as she attempted to break into the Speaker’s Lobby. “Her death is on him as far I’m concerned.”
“[Trump] and the campaign also gave legitimacy to Lin Wood and others who were far more explicit in riling people up,” Breitbart reporter Chris Tomlinson added at another point.
Other staffers attempted to excuse or dismiss the severity of the MAGA mob and Trump‘s role in encouraging their violent actions.
“Trump explicitly asked people to be peaceful and respectful yesterday, and then almost immediately called for the violence to stop,” declared Breitbart columnist John Nolte, who at another point claiming the mob “clearly” was “99% peaceful.”
“Dude told rioters ‘We love you, you’re special,’” Martel shot back, referring to Trump’s behavior on the day of the riots. She punctuated her rebuttal with an eyeroll emoji. “Done with this guy, get him outta there with the stage cane.”
Elsewhere, Nolte, a long-time conservative firebrand, downplayed the severity of the riot by mocking the actions of Capitol police who, in the case of Babbitt, resorted to deadly force in order to prevent rioters from breaching deep into the building.
“Maybe the cop that shot her was worried she’d break a window or put her feet on McConnell’s desk,” Nolte snarked. “She had to get got.”