Fox News host Sean Hannity is one of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s most devout defenders in right-wing media. Since Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015, Hannity has attacked anyone that criticized Trump, including those in right-wing media, politicians, and even the Pope.
Hannity Is A Long-Time Supporter Of Donald Trump
Hannity Immediately Compared Candidate Trump To Ronald Reagan. One day after Trump announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president, Sean Hannity positively compared Trump’s attitude toward business to the hard line Ronald Reagan took against the Soviet Union:
SEAN HANNITY: Wouldn't you like to actually win a negotiation? Wouldn't you like somebody that wouldn't sit down at the table with the Iranians? Once they say the destruction of Israel is not off the table, you walk away. When they say that, chant 'death to America,' you walk away. When they fight another proxy war against Saudi Arabia, you walk away.
One of the greatest moments of Ronald Reagan's presidency, he was at Reykjavik. And Gorbachev was pushing him to give up Strategic Defense, what liberals called, derisively, 'Star Wars.' And he said, 'nyet,' and he walked away from the table. And eventually it led to peace. That's like Trump's Art of the Deal. You should be willing in any business dealings you do -- and I do a lot of business dealings in my private life, like all of you do -- and if at any point it becomes a bad deal, I am willing to walk away. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 6/16/15]
Hannity Formally Endorsed Trump In May. In a series of tweets after Trump won the required number of delegates to clinch the Republican nomination, Hannity announced on May 5 that he was officially endorsing Trump for president. [Media Matters, 5/5/16]
Hannity To Trump: “I’m Voting For You.” During an August 9 interview with Trump on Fox News’ Hannity, Hannity told Trump “I’m voting for you.” [Media Matters, 8/9/16]
Hannity Assailed Any “Dumbass” “Establishment” “Pipsqueak” That Crossed Trump
Hannity Attacked “Gutless” National Review Editors For Their ‘Against Trump’ Issue. On the January 22 edition of his radio show, Hannity remarked that the Trump candidacy was “not the first time that National Review opposed a Republican frontrunner.” Hannity complained that National Review’s editors were “gutless” for not explaining who they support instead. [Media Matters, 1/22/16]
Hannity: “How Many NRO Guys Supported McCain, Dole? Oh Real ‘Conservatives’. Elitist BS.”
How many NRO guys supported McCain, Dole? Oh real “Conservatives” . Elitist BS. https://t.co/quu0eJkosR
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 6, 2016
The New York Times
Hannity: Because The Times Reported On Trump’s Sexism, “They Deserve What They Get.” On the June 1 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity rejected Trump adviser Newt Gingrich’s claim that Trump could do without “some of the nastiness” directed at the press. Hannity interrupted him to say “if The New York Times writes a story that you abused women … I think they deserve” the vitriol “they get” from Trump:
NEWT GINGRICH: Yeah look, I know lots of reporters as you do, most of them as individuals are decent human beings, but almost all of them are on the left. I think sometimes that Trump overreaches when he doesn’t need to. All he’s really got to say is look, these folks are our opponents. These reporters are on the other team. This is like having a bunch of referees in a ballgame who are on the side of the other guys, go in and actually block, tackle, and carry the ball. I think he can do it without some of the nastiness because the truth is --
SEAN HANNITY: I don’t think it’s nasty but if they’re writing things -- if The New York Times writes a story that you abused women, and then all the women in the story come out and they defend you and say that The New York Times purposely manipulated your words, I don’t think there’s -- I think they deserve what they get. [Fox News, Hannity, 6/1/16]
The Washington Post
Hannity Hosted Trump To Spread Conspiracies About The Washington Post. After the Post dedicated 20 reporters to extensive investigation of Donald Trump’s past, Hannity hosted Trump on the May 12 edition of his Fox News show, who baselessly claimed the Post’s owner, Jeff Bezos, uses the paper “for political purposes to save Amazon in terms of taxes, and in terms of anti-trust,” to which Hannity simply replied, “wow.” [Media Matters, 5/12/16]
Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol
Hannity Accused Kristol Of “Picking Up His Little Toys” And “Going Home” Because Trump Won. On the September 15, 2015, edition of his radio show, Hannity said Kristol “sounds to me like an establishment guy, no offense,” after Kristol floated the idea of a third-party candidate to counter Trump. Hannity went further, saying “it sounds to me like you're picking up your little toys, and you're going home if you don't get your way,” which would “guarantee” a Democratic president. [Media Matters, 9/15/15]
Hannity, With Trump, Said Kristol “Only Want[s] To Help Hillary Clinton Get Elected.” While interviewing Trump for his Fox News show on May 31, Hannity said Kristol was “willingly sabotaging” Trump with his third-party talk, and that Kristol “only want[s] to help Hillary Clinton get elected.” [Media Matters, 5/31/16]
CNN’s Brian Stelter
Hannity Repeatedly Lashed Out At “Pipsqueak” Brian Stelter For Condemning His Clinton Conspiracy-Enabling. On August 14, CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter criticized Hannity’s “reckless” “conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s health” designed to help Donald Trump. In response, Hannity called Stelter a “pipsqueak” and accused him and CNN of “kiss[ing] Hillary Clinton's ass and Obama's ass every day.” Hannity later attacked Stelter’s Sunday show, Reliable Sources, as “The Media Matters Show” “doing the bidding of Jeff Zucker.” Stelter also previously criticized Hannity’s softball interviews with Trump for giving him “a friendly outlet” on an “advocacy show.” [Media Matters, 8/14/16, 8/16/16, 8/16/16, 4/17/16]
Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens
Hannity Called WSJ Editor Bret Stephens “A Dumbass With His Head Up His Ass” For Criticism Of Hannity’s Shameless Support Of Trump. After Wall Street Journal editor Bret Stephens called Hannity “Fox News’ dumbest anchor” for preemptively blaming Republicans for a Trump loss, Hannity attacked Stephens in an August 4 tweetstorm as an “arrogant, elitist enabler,” a “dumbass,” and an “asshole.” Hannity also used his radio show to bash Stephens as “a dumbass with his head up his ass.” [Media Matters, 8/5/16, 8/5/16]
Univision’s Jorge Ramos
Hannity Claimed Ramos Was “Willing To Risk The Lives Of Americans” For “Open Borders.” On the March 23 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, Sean Hannity attacked Ramos for being “fundamentally unfair” and “not objective” by “throw[ing] around this word ‘racism’” in reporting Trump’s racist attacks against Mexican immigrants. Hannity further accused Ramos of “be[ing] willing to risk the lives of Americans” in pursuit of “open borders.” When Ramos resisted charges he was an unfair journalist, Hannity told Ramos “I don’t need lectures from you.” [Media Matters, 3/23/16]
Wisconsin Right-Wing Radio Host Charlie Sykes
Hannity: Sykes Had “No Problem … Disenfranchising The Voters” For Selecting Trump. On the April 6 edition of his radio show, Hannity lashed out at Wisconsin right-wing talk radio host Charlie Sykes for having “no problem ... disenfranchising the voters of this country” because he disagreed with the way the voters have been choosing” Trump:
SEAN HANNITY: He [John Boehner] says you could nominate anybody on the floor of the convention. He says I’d love to see Paul Ryan. Scott Walker in a private meeting in New York. By the way, I’ll come forward with the person that told me the story, they were there at a fundraiser in New York recently with Scott Walker. He said the same thing, he wants Paul Ryan. No fewer than 12, 14 articles, Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan’s in Israel; some people think that he is trying to jack up his foreign policy experience by being in Israel at this time while saying, just like he did I didn’t want to be Speaker, and now he didn’t want to be president. Karl Rove, well maybe it’ll take an outsider to bring the party together. You hear lines like “he’s the least establishment of the establishment;” whoever came up with that line?
But I’m watching all of this as all of you are and it’s befuddling. You’ve got talk show hosts that have no problem, Charlie Sykes, disenfranchising the voters of this country because they don’t like the way the voters have been choosing this year. I don’t feel like I have that right. I feel -- the only clue that I have ever given any of you, in spite of the fact that so many of you think that you’ve figured out where I am in this election, the only clue is that I have said I think the voters have done very well voting for the insurgency candidates, and I think it is a good decision that the voters have made by defeating the establishment in this election cycle. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 4/6/16]
Conservative Commentator Erick Erickson
Hannity Said Erickson Had “A Political Death Wish” In Opposing Trump. In response to one-time Fox News contributor Erick Erickson’s plans to recruit a third-party candidate, Hannity condemned Erickson’s “political death wish” as a “suicide mission” and “circular firing squad.” [Media Matters, 3/17/16]
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Hannity Accused “Pathetic” Paul Ryan Of “Sabotage” For Not Immediately Endorsing Trump. When House Speaker Paul Ryan initially refused to endorse Trump after he became the presumptive Republican nominee, Hannity accused “pathetic” Ryan of “sabotage” against Trump and “betray[al]” of the Republican base.
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 5, 2016
Hannity Wanted To Replace Ryan As Speaker For Not Endorsing Trump. On the May 5 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, Hannity told Trump adviser Newt Gingrich that he was “not ready to support Speaker Ryan anymore,” and also “thinking maybe we need a new Speaker.” Hannity later reiterated on his radio show that “maybe it’s time to get a new speaker” and Ryan should “go do something else.” [Media Matters, 5/5/16, 6/17/16]
Hannity Preemptively Blamed Ryan, GOP Establishment For A Trump Loss In November. On August 3, Hannity declared that if Trump loses the election he will “point the finger directly at people like Paul Ryan” and several other Republicans for not endorsing Trump forcefully enough. Hannity also attacked Ryan and those Republicans for their “weakness,” “spinelessness,” and “lack of vision.” [Media Matters, 8/3/16]
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Hannity Implied Cruz’s Candidacy Threatened The “Integrity Of The Election.” In a contentious April 9 interview with Sen. Cruz, Sean Hannity asked what he called “an integrity of the election question” that “everybody’s asking,” wondering if Cruz could explain why he hoped to persuade Trump delegates to vote for Cruz on a second ballot at the Republican convention. When Cruz told Hannity “the only people asking this question” are Trump supporters, Hannity interrupted him to complain he was “getting sick of” being accused of pro-Trump bias:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Senator, I'm -- hang on a second, I'm on social media with millions of people. I have 550 radio stations, and I have the top rated cable show in my hour, all across the board. And I am telling you that people are telling me that they find this whole process confusing. You know, I can read the articles, for example, about -- you know, people want to know about what actually happened in Georgia this weekend, where people that have, I guess, on the first ballot are going to Donald Trump, but representatives of yours talked to them, and are persuading them to vote for you on a second ballot. That is an important question, because I think most of people would like to know how this works, and I'm really am asking you more than a process question. It's an integrity of the election question, and everybody's asking me this question. So I'm giving you an opportunity to explain it.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Sean, the only people asking this question are the hardcore Donald Trump supporters.
HANNITY: Why do you -- but senator, why do you do this? Every single time I -- no, you gotta stop. Every time I have you on the air, and I ask a legitimate question, you try to throw this in my face. I'm getting sick of it. I've had you on more than any other candidate, on radio and TV. So if I ask you senator, a legitimate question that would explain to the audience, why wouldn't you just answer it?
CRUZ: Sean, can I answer your question without being interrupted? [Media Matters, 4/9/16]
Hannity Lent Credence To Trump’s Lie That Cruz’s Father Helped Kill JFK. In an interview with Hannity, Trump repeated the false allegation from The National Enquirer (a tabloid owned by one of Trump’s friends) that Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Hannity remarked “I saw that somewhere on the internet,” and “I don’t know the truth or veracity of it.” [Media Matters, 5/3/16]
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Hannity Accused Rubio Of Being “Coached” To “Kamikaze” Trump. On the March 2 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show, Hannity claimed Sen. Rubio “sat in a room with a lot of establishment types” who “coached” him into attacking Trump in what had “almost become a kamikaze mission”:
SEAN HANNITY: So what I suspect is happening -- you hear these groups, Meg Whitman and Christine Todd Whitman and Mitt Romney's going to come out. This is not by accident. I argue this is by design. And the establishment is so freaked out at you -- they're really angry at you. They really are mad they can't control you, the American people. They're mad that you're not voting the way they want you to vote. They're angry that this isn't going their way. They're angry that 14 of the 15 contests have gone towards insurgents. So I suspect this change in Marco Rubio's coming -- and this is my imagination working here. The conspiratorial side of me, if you will. But I beg your indulgence. What I suspect has happened is that Marco Rubio has sat in a room with a lot of establishment types. I guarantee you he has been promised millions and millions and millions of dollars for his campaign, I suspect deeply that this dramatic change -- this is not a subtle change that, you know -- listening to him go on and on about the con artist, the fraud, the scam artist. “He refuses to repudiate the KKK.” “Hire illegal immigrants.” Misspelled words. I suspect that this has all been coached. I suspect that this is a strategy that has been put together by all of these people that are angry really at you because they don't like the way you, the American people, are voting.
And you're saying, “Hannity, you've lost your mind. Hannity you're out of your mind.” I am going to play for you Marco Rubio, and this is only snippets. And this is Marco Rubio uncharacteristically dropping the kitchen sink, going scorched earth, thermonuclear, MMA, bare-knuckles, and I would argue he is being influenced to do it by groups of people because it's so out of character for him. This has almost become a kamikaze mission for him. That not only if I can't have the nomination, well, me and this group of people, we're going to take everybody out with us." [Media Matters, 3/2/16]
Hannity: Rubio Was “Influenced By The Establishment" To Harm Trump. On March 2, Hannity used his radio show to declare that Rubio was ”used” and “influenced, by the establishment, to take out the insurgencies" among the Republican primary field, one of which was Trump. Hannity claimed the establishment made Rubio into “a totally different person” than “the Marco Rubio of 2010”:
SEAN HANNITY: The only way I can describe this is a kamikaze mission to take out the insurgency candidates, and Marco Rubio is the pilot, and that there are other people, now funding him, getting in his head, filling his head with talking points that are memorized. And I just played for you all of the attacks, you know it goes on and on. You know, about -- it’s con artist, fraud, scam artist, refuses the KKK, to denounce the KKK, which is just a lie. Let me play this ad that a Rubio PAC has now put out, because I think this is unbelievable in terms of everything we know about Trump denouncing David Duke and the KKK. This is the tactics the Democrats would use. This is why I say Marco Rubio has shocked me, he's now become a totally different person. Marco Rubio is not the Marco Rubio of 2010, and I think what's happened is he is being used and he's being influenced, by the establishment, to take out the insurgencies. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 3/2/16]
Hannity: Marco Rubio “Is Now Pawn For Establishment. Sad To Me. That's Not Man I Knew.”
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) March 2, 2016
Hannity: Could Rubio's Attacks On Trump “Actually Ruin His Career, And Destroy And Hurt The Republican Party?” On the March 2 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, Hannity asked Pat Buchanan if Rubio could “actually ruin his career, and destroy and hurt the Republican Party” by attacking Trump. Hannity continued, claiming Rubio offered himself as “the hired gun” in an “orchestrated, well-funded and well-organized” effort to deny Trump the nomination:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): So are Rubio's attacks turning into a suicide mission, and could it actually ruin his career, destroy and hurt the Republican Party?
So I watched Marco in two interviews last night. And I want to be very clear here, for the record, I've always liked him. Very hard not to like Marco Rubio. I get the sense that he couldn't get out the word con artist, fraud, supporting the KKK, hiring illegal immigrants, Trump University over and over enough -- probably a preview of tomorrow's debate. Here's my question: Do you agree with me that probably this is -- that this is not Marco we have known and, B, that he’s probably being influenced and he's the hired gun now to take out the insurgency?
PAT BUCHANAN: I think he's made a calculated decision that he's gonna be the -- he's getting the applause of the media establishment, he's getting the applause of the establishment. He's tearing down Donald Trump, the establishment wants him destroyed. Marco has volunteered to be the instrument of destruction. I agree with you in the longer run, Marco is not going to be the nominee. I don't think the Trump people at the convention would ever support Marco Rubio after these kinds of attacks.
HANNITY: And you don't think there's been backdoor meetings, and closed door meetings in smoke-filled rooms, and he is not getting support and being offered money to do all this? I -- maybe it's my conspiratorial mind. I think this is orchestrated, well-funded, and well-organized.
BUCHANAN: Right. I think this helps Marco in the short run. In the long run I agree with you. I think it may terminate his political career. And what I don't understand is if they manage to destroy Donald Trump, who do they think's going to get the nomination? [Fox News, Hannity, 3/2/16]
Hannity Called For Marco Rubio To “Get Out” Of The Presidential Race. On the March 9 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show, Hannity commented that Rubio’s campaign was “about to move to hospice care” after a poor primary performance because he had “do[ne] the work of the establishment” by campaigning against Trump. [Media Matters, 3/9/16]
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Hannity Blamed McCain For Trump’s Attack On His War Record. After Trump declared in reference to Sen. McCain’s time as a prisoner of war that he “like[s] people who weren’t captured,” Hannity asserted “this all got started by McCain” for criticizing Trump’s comments that Mexican immigrants are rapists. [Media Matters, 7/20/15]
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Hannity: Graham “Deserved” To Have Trump Release His Private Phone Number. After Sen. Graham condemned Trump’s anti-Mexican rhetoric and Trump released Graham’s personal phone number in retaliation, Hannity said “Trump giving out Lindsey Graham’s phone number is one of the funniest things” he’d ever “seen a presidential candidate do,” and that Graham “deserved all of that and more.” [Media Matters, 7/22/15]
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE)
Hannity Told Sasse His Non-Endorsement Of Trump Was “Half A Vote” For Clinton. After Hannity repeatedly slammed Sen. Sasse for not supporting Donald Trump, Sasse confronted him at CPAC for “telling my constituents that I am voting for Hillary Clinton.” Hannity retorted that he “didn’t say that,” but rather that Sasse’s non-endorsement was “half a vote for Hillary Clinton.” [TheBlaze, 3/3/16]
Hannity Claimed Sasse Did Not Endorse Trump To Satisfy “His Own Desire” To Run Third Party. On the May 11 edition of his radio show, Hannity lamented that Sasse “came up to me in a pretty confrontational way at CPAC” and was “flirting with the idea of going third-party” instead of backing Trump, to satisfy “his own desire to run for president.” Hannity condemned this move as “a half a vote for Hillary” and “a guaranteed prescription” to elect Clinton:
SEAN HANNITY: If you want my take, I supported Ben Sasse for the senate and I said -- how many times, Linda, on this program -- wow, I really like this guy. He’s a rising star and a real strong, solid conservative voice. I’m going to give you my speculation. Now this may be somewhat slanted, considering he came up to me in a pretty confrontational way when I was at CPAC and accused me of saying something that I had never said, so we had this long exchange -- it’s pretty well-publicized. And anyway, I’ve come to a conclusion here, because he’s now working with Romney and Bill Kristol, apparently, and they’re flirting with the idea of going third-party. And if they go third-party I can tell you that that is a guaranteed prescription for Hillary Clinton to be the next president. But my own take on it, after really really analyzing it, and this, I can’t base it in fact, I’m giving you what I think. I think Ben Sasse has his own political ambitions. I suspect that he has his own desire to run for president. And I may be wrong, he would probably outright deny it, but we’ll see. We’ll see if I turn out to be right in the next couple of years.
My TV producer said to me the other day, “Oh, you want to bring Sen. Sasse on?” I said not really. And he goes, “No, it’d be great TV. You guys can fight it out.” And I said why bother? I said I’m not going to spend my airtime trying to convince people that they ought to vote for the Republican nominee who won the will of the people. I said, if he chooses not to do it, that’s his business. I’m not going to sit there and try to convince him who to vote for or not vote for. If he wants to stay home, let him stay home. [Media Matters, 5/11/16]
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox
Hannity To Former Mexican President Vicente Fox: “Do You Care About The American People?” On the March 2 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity interrogated former Mexican President Vicente Fox on whether he “care[d] about the American people … that are victims of crime” after Fox denounced Trump’s border wall. When Fox said he spoke up because Trump “worries me for America,” Hannity replied, “walls work pretty good actually” and that Fox “ought to respect” America’s right to build one:
SEAN HANNITY: I’ve been down to the border ten times, I’ve been in drug warehouses; floor to ceiling, nothing but drugs that were being brought in from your country, Mexico, for the children of America. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I’ve seen gang members. I’ve been out with border patrol and watched gang members get arrested crossing your borders. Similarly, I’ve been out on horseback, all-terrain vehicle, I’ve seen tunnels that were dug --
VICENTE FOX: I was ready to speak about the worry about economic, in economic terms, to show the ignorance of this guy. It’s --
HANNITY: Wait, you’re talking about -- do you care about the American people? Do you care about Americans that are victims of crime? Do you care about drugs being brought into America?
FOX: My father was, my grandfather was an American, born in Cincinnati, Ohio --
HANNITY: I’m fine with that but do you care about America? I just showed the video of drug warehouses --
FOX: I care very much about America --
HANNITY: Do you care?
FOX: -- because it’s part of my, and I respect pretty much American, that’s why I intervene, because it worries me for America, worries for me for the world, worries me for Mexico.
HANNITY: What’s wrong with building a wall, sir? What’s wrong with building a barrier to stop drugs?
FOX: No, it’s your right, but walls don’t work, and that should be known by Trump.
HANNITY: Oh no, I think walls work pretty good actually. That’s why we -- that’s why criminals are surrounded by walls in prison.
America has a right to protect itself from the drugs that cross -- listen, I understand most people want jobs. I understand that you didn’t fix the economy of your country. I understand that most people -- oh no you didn’t. Then why are they all coming to America? We have the right to protect our children from the drug trade and the crimes that are committed on our border by illegal immigrants. And you ought to respect that. [Media Matters, 3/2/16]
Hannity: Pope Francis “Is Not Really In A Position” To Lecture Donald Trump. After Pope Francis suggested that a preoccupation with building walls “is not Christian,” Hannity complained on the February 18 edition of his radio show that “the Church is not really in a position, I don't think, to lecture anybody on what it means to be good Christians.” Hannity went on to attack the Pope’s “lecture[s] on issues involving capitalism,” telling the Catholic Church “if they really didn't like wealth and opulence I guess they can sell the Vatican.” [Media Matters, 2/18/16]