Newsmax host Greg Kelly was criticized after he made the absurd claim former Republican President Donald Trump had not actually attempted to contact a witness who'd been due to testify before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, saying Trump's actions may have just been a "butt dial."
Kelly's remark came after Wyoming Republican Representative Liz Cheney, the committee's vice chair, revealed that a missing witness who was due to testify before the committee said that Trump had tried to call them. The witness said they declined the call and informed the committee, who then referred the information to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
In response to the suggestion that the former President had engaged in witness tampering, Kelly scoffed and referred to the committee as a "joke committee" with "no authority."
You can hear his remarks in the video below.
\u201cNewsmax host: Trump's call to January 6 witness may have just been a \u201cbutt dial\u201d\nhttps://t.co/cQLNg9koEb\u201d— Jason Campbell (@Jason Campbell) 1657721626
"But there was a bombshell. Are you ready for this? Apparently, Donald Trump made a phone call and nobody answered it."
"But they're acting like this is a big deal."
"You have no authority. You're a joke committee. You have no authority."
"By the way, not to drop names but I received a phone call from the president on more than one occasion, and you actually can't tell it's him calling. He's got some system, you don't know."
"How do you know the president actually called him? And they didn't answer. Hey, maybe it was a butt dial, huh?"
"Tell the Justice Department that. OK, they take themselves so seriously."
Kelly's remarks soon went viral and angered people who accused him of minimizing the seriousness of Trump's actions.
\u201cThere\u2019s a level of stupid that I just can\u2019t fathom, but this host thinks his viewer\u2019s can\u2026. #January6thCommitteeHearings\u201d— 3Fers (@3Fers) 1657739926
\u201cNo way did Trump accidentally "butt dial" a January 6 witness.\n\nI guarantee Trump does not have a public cell number that shows up on caller ID. If he calls you, it's gonna show up as "Restricted" or "Unknown." He either left a voicemail or asked an aide to call, etc.\u201d— Arlen Parsa (@Arlen Parsa) 1657739929
\u201cQuestion: Had Trump launched a nuclear warhead, would his apologists be saying this same thing?\u201d— Dr. Telphousia (@Dr. Telphousia) 1657740339
\u201cDownplaying witness tampering & intimidation. On Brand\u201d— M-A.Stay\u2019Legit \u2122\ufe0f\ud83c\udde8\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\udde9\ud83c\uddea (@M-A.Stay\u2019Legit \u2122\ufe0f\ud83c\udde8\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\udde9\ud83c\uddea) 1657742377
\u201cNewsmax: Trump is not smart enough to try to intimidate witnesses, but he is stupid enough to butt dial them. Also, he should be President again, because well, he's like a genius and stuff. \n\nThe mental gymnastics they have to do, to support Trump while ignoring his criminality.\u201d— NYkrinDC (@NYkrinDC) 1657743454
\u201cPeople are still - STILL! - staking their professional reputation on this man. It boggles the mind.\u201d— Matthew DesOrmeaux \u269c (@Matthew DesOrmeaux \u269c) 1657739780
\u201cHe\u2019s using the same excuse we did in college when you called someone you shouldn\u2019t have at 3 am \ud83d\ude02\ud83d\ude02\ud83d\ude02\u201d— mike brown is an elite football owner (@mike brown is an elite football owner) 1657740417
A spokesperson for Trump has not responded to requests for comment.
The most recent hearing focused on the three weeks between the meeting of the Electoral College on December 14, 2020, and the certification of the electoral votes on January 6, 2021, and Trump's efforts to stay in power.
The committee established that the attack on the United States Capitol, spurred by Trump's lies that the 2020 general election had been stolen, had been planned in advance. Additionally, a rioter who pleaded guilty to breaching the Capitol testified about how Trump's behavior in the weeks prior to the attack influenced his actions on that day.
Key among the revelations was an admission via text message by Trump's former campaign manager Brad Parscale that Trump's "rhetoric killed someone," a reference to Ashli Babbitt, the insurrectionist who was killed by a law enforcement officer as she attempted to climb through the broken windows of the House Speaker's Lobby to gain access to members of Congress sheltering in the House chamber.