Geraldo Rivera Accuses Sean Hannity Of 'Gaslighting' Viewers About Capitol Riots

The Fox News personalities sparred over Hannity's attempts to shift blame for the riots from former President Donald Trump

Geraldo Rivera, Sean Hannity
Geraldo Rivera (left), Sean Hannity. Photo: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty; Taylor Hill/WireImage

Fox News personalities Geraldo Rivera and Sean Hannity got into a brief back-and-forth on Tuesday, after Rivera accused the host of "gaslighting" viewers about the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

Rivera's remarks came during a panel discussion on Hannity, which focused on the first day of a House committee hearing on the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

"I think you've been, with all due respect and I love you, gaslighting, changing the subject," Rivera, 78, told Hannity, 59. "The subject is Jan. 6th and what happened to the United States Capitol and why it happened. Those two things."

Rivera continued: "The fact that the Capitol was targeted and that the prime instigator, the one who unleashed the mob, was the president of the United States. For god sakes, Sean …"

Hannity then interjected, saying, "Geraldo, you just made an accusation against me. We're friends a long time. Wait a minute. You just told me I'm gaslighting."

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As Rivera noted, Hannity has previously tried to shift the blame for the Capitol riots away from former President Donald Trump, even as he was impeached by the House of Representatives for his role in inciting the violence.

The attempted insurrection occurred as thousands of Trump supporters (many carrying MAGA flags and other pro-Trump merchandise) had gathered to show their support for the former president amid his unfounded claims of election fraud following his November loss to Joe Biden.

After Trump told the group to "fight like Hell" and "show strength," rioters breached the Capitol building, breaking windows, storming the Senate chamber and vandalizing offices inside, forcing the evacuation of lawmakers who were gathered inside to count the Electoral College votes certifying Biden's win.

While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle initially condemned the riots, some Republicans have since worked to downplay the deadly events of that day. Many members of the GOP have suggested that investigating the events of Jan. 6 would be politically partisan, despite the fact that lawmakers on either side (including Trump's own vice president) were targeted by rioters.

Elsewhere on the network Tuesday, host Bret Baier criticized the Republicans who have been dismissive of the inquiry into the riots, particularly in light of Tuesday's testimony by Capitol Police Officers.

"While Republicans politically are saying that this is a partisan effort and that they charge that it's not going to get to the questions that they think are important about Jan. 6 — 'Why were the Capitol Police so ill-prepared for what happened that day?' ― you cannot watch this testimony and say that it's not a big deal," Baier, 50, said earlier in the day, as HuffPo reported.

As Baier alluded, day one of the committee hearing proved emotional, with four Capitol Police Officers explaining in detail how they were harassed, assaulted and in some cases feared death due to the violent mob of Trump supporters who descended on the building that day.

One of the officers, Michael Fanone told the lawmakers gathered for the hearing that he feared he would be "torn apart or shot to death" on Jan. 6, saying he was beaten and "electrocuted again and again and again" with a taser, while he rioters yelled, "Get his gun and kill him with his own gun."

"I thought of my four daughters who might lose their dad," Fanone said, adding, "I remained grateful that no member of Congress had to go through" what he did.

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