Jim Hoft, founder and editor-in-chief of right-wing media site Gateway Pundit and longtime promoter of conspiracy theories, declared on “The Pete Santilli Show” last Friday that the 2020 election was a “landslide” victory for former President Donald Trump and that the only important development from Jan. 6 was former Vice President Mike Pence turning his back on “Trump nation” by refusing to block congressional affirmation of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Santilli claimed that the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection was “staged” by anti-Trump operatives. Hoft offered his own take to Santilli’s listeners:
We all know what happened on Jan. 6, and the big story that day was when Vice President Pence turned his back on Trump nation. That’s the biggest story on that day. Nothing else mattered that day. The media’s been making up these lies about this insurrection, where people are peacefully walking through the U.S. Capitol.
Hoft claimed that everything the FBI has said about the insurrection was “an absolute lie.” Last June, Hoft suggested that it might be time to “disband the FBI” after the agency joined the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center in distributing a memo warning law enforcement agencies that white supremacists and other right-wing extremists posed the “greatest threat of lethal violence” in the United States.
Hoft told Santilli that the next two or three weeks are “critical” to the effort to prove that the 2020 election was overturned by fraud. Hoft praised the farcical “audit” being conducted in Arizona by a company hired by state GOP senators, predicting that it would produce “overwhelming” evidence of fraud in the 2020 presidential election. A former state Republican attorney general has called the audit a “joke” and a “clown show,” and last week Republican officials in Maricopa County described the audit as “craziness” and “a grift disguised as an audit.”
Hoft and Santilli called for additional audits in other battleground states won by Biden, and Hoft slammed Republicans who have supported the certified results, calling on right-wing activists to replace “these pathetic creatures who are so afraid of their own shadow with actual warriors who are out there and ready to fight.”
“We are dealing with evil here,” Hoft said, “We’re dealing with people who don’t have a problem lying, going home and sleeping at night. None of us could do that.” Later in the interview, Hoft said, “We’re dealing with demons.”
“We need prayers, and we need to trust that God’s gonna right this,” Hoft said.
Hoft’s Twitter account was permanently suspended in February for spreading disinformation about the 2020 election in violation of the platform’s “civic integrity policy.” In March, Hoft and his brother Joe Hoft spoke at a so-called “election integrity” conference hosted by former Rep. Michele Bachmann, dean of Regent University’s Robertson School of Government. As Right Wing Watch noted at the time, a 2017 Harvard University study of disinformation and propaganda said, “Gateway Pundit is in a class of its own, known for ‘publishing falsehoods and spreading hoaxes.’”
Jared Holt, formerly of Right Wing Watch and now at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab, reported in March, “Since the Capitol attack, the pro-Trump disinformation rag The Gateway Pundit has been growing increasingly cozy to the modern militia movement. Recent articles have cheered on Ammon Bundy, and Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, for example.”
A few years ago, Media Matters wrote about Hoft, “The frequency with which he posts hoaxes and complete fabrications as fact suggests Hoft either has a reckless and total disregard for the truth or is so incompetent he cannot separate fact from fiction.”
During the Obama administration, Santilli called for the entire Bush family and President Obama to be “tried, convicted, and shot” for “treason” and said he wanted to personally “pull the trigger” on Hillary Clinton and watch her die slowly.
Santilli also took some time during his interview with Hoft to market “Pistol Pete’s Jerky,” a beef jerky company Santilli is promoting with outlaw Rancher Cliven Bundy, providing listeners with a promotional code that he said would direct a percentage of the sales to Gateway Pundit.