In back-to-back segments on Monday night, Fox News star Sean Hannity—who has repeatedly cheered on anti-shutdown protests against coronavirus stay-at-home orders—pleaded with demonstrators to keep their rifles and tactical gear at home.
Hundreds of protesters, many armed with long guns, swarmed Michigan’s Capitol building last Thursday to rail against the state’s continued shelter-in-place orders amid the pandemic. Images of gun-toting protesters storming and crowding the state house sparked bipartisan criticism, though President Donald Trump called them “very good people.”
Speaking to frequent guest Dan Bongino on Monday evening, Hannity—who has recently gushed over the protests—groused that the sight of demonstrators packing rifles and dressed in military gear is a “distraction” to the real message of reopening the economy.
No one is a “bigger defender” of the Second Amendment than he is, Hannity said, but still he blasted the demonstrators for adopting a “militia look,” claiming that it is “dangerous” and “puts the police at risk.”
“No one should be attempting to intimidate officials,” Hannity added. “God forbid something happens—they are going to go after all of us law-abiding Second Amendment people.”
After Bongino said he didn’t fully agree with the Fox host as “people are fed up,” Hannity snapped back that “nobody’s going to hear them” because they were showing force against law enforcement and government officials.
Bongino relented somewhat, saying he felt that the “liberal media” would try to paint the armed protesters as a “crazed bunch of lunatics.” At the same time, he insisted they were standing up for the Constitution and Bill of Rights, prompting Hannity again to denounce the optics of it all.
“This is a distraction, though,” the pro-Trump host said. “I’m never going to take anyone’s rights. But this is a distraction.”
Later in the program, he posed the same question to Fox News contributors Tammy Bruce and Mike Huckabee, asking them both if they felt the armed protesters created a “tough environment where nobody can hear you.”
“I agree,” Huckabee responded. “Just because there’s some things we can do that doesn’t mean we should do.”
“I wish I said that,” Hannity said.