Glenn Beck and his radio co-hosts Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray lit into Matt Drudge for bringing attention to Beck’s interview with author Brad Thor the day before.
Thor predicted Donald Trump, if elected, would likely become a dictator and cause an “extinction-level event” for the country, and ordinary citizens would not be able to remove him from office by any legal means because Congress would not impeach him.
The trio declared that anyone who heard Thor’s controversial comments and interpreted them as a suggestion that American citizens may need to depose Trump with violence is “an idiot,” “a moron,” “crazy,” “despicable,” and “straight out medically delusional.”
As is often the case, Beck makes his argument against a straw man. Gray — and later Beck himself — inaccurately retell the Drudge Report’s headline on the Thor story, inserting words that did not appear in it.
Brad Thor was slated to appear on Beck’s radio show Thursday but did not. He was chiding Fox Business host Lou Dobbs over Twitter during the show’s first hour but did not apparently call in.
Listen to the audio of Beck’s radio program from this morning above. Read the transcript of relevant portions, with annotations in blue text, below.
GLENN BECK: Yesterday Brad Thor was on, and he expressed his opinion. Now here’s the honest to God truth. We talked about this before. Pat, did you see, did you hear what he said yesterday — what people are saying he was threatening Donald Trump? Did you hear that?
PAT GRAY: Not at all.
BECK: [to Stu] Did you hear that at all?
STU BURGUIERE: Did I hear him say it?
BECK: No, when he was saying it, did you take it that that’s what he was saying?
BURGUIERE: I actually the picture I pictured in my head was the group of Nazis with their hands up raising “Heil Hitler,” and the one guy in the middle not doing it. That was the exact mental picture I had when he was describing that — something that would be you — have to take a stand in a way that would shake the system.
BECK: So, I had in my head — because I saw something in my head — he was talking about Congress will never–
GRAY: Never impeached the guy.
BECK: Never impeach the guy. You will never get him out. And he said if he goes down and he goes and he suspends the Constitution, he said Congress will never impeach that guy. Will there be a patriot that will do the right thing? And the image in my head. Yours was that guy that says, “Be this guy,” where he’s not giving the Nazi salute. Mine was “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” — Jimmy Stewart standing there all alone on the Senate floor, saying, “I’ll just keep talkin’. Somebody’s gotta hear me!” That’s what I heard.
GRAY: Yes, there was no implied – stated or implied — threat whatsoever, which is why that Drudge headline last night was so despicable and showed him to be such a scumbag to me because he put it on top of his page and in red so that everybody would see.
BURGUIERE: What’s the headline? I didn’t see this.
GRAY: And the headline was–
BECK: You didn’t see this?
GRAY: “Glenn Beck Threatens, uh, Glenn Beck, Brad Thor threaten Donald Trump’s life.”
[Drudge’s headline, according to the archived page, reads: “GLENN BECK, AUTHOR TALK ‘PATRIOT’ TAKING OUT TRUMP…”]
GRAY: It was literally something like “to kill Donald Trump.” And I just went out of my mind because it was such an absolute bald-faced lie. He’s taken it off now because he probably got a little heat after I wrote my Facebook Post.
[The author of the blog post linked by Drudge used the word “kill” but in its body, not its headline. Drudge’s headline, seen above, did not either.]
BECK: I don’t know. I don’t know.
BURGUIERE: Wait, the Pat Gray Facebook Post as an angry diatribe. I must see it.
BECK: So, here’s the thing. What is the agenda there? The agenda is to silence all voices that disagree with Donald Trump. That’s all this is.
BURGUIERE: Oh absolutely.
BECK: There are voices out there that have become the attack dogs for Donald Trump. If I were for Donald Trump, I would not do that. You have not heard — you — we have not taken our media source and done that. Now, again, this show is an opinion show. That’s what we do. We tell you the news, and then we give you our opinion on the news. That’s not what Matt Drudge is. Matt Drudge is … a website that links to the news. But his news – his news sources have become Breitbart, who, Breitbart is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Trump industries. It’s the Biff Network.
BURGUIERE: I mean, he’s always had a leaning. I mean, that’s been clear since the beginning.
BECK: He’s a conservative.
BURGUIERE: Yeah, right, okay.
BECK: No, he was.
GRAY: At one time he was. I don’t know what he is anymore.
BURGUIERE: Of course, the theory at one moment. He’s now become delusional obviously. I mean, to create something like that out of what Brad Thor was talking about is straight out medically delusional. That is not what we were talking about at all. None of us took that.
BECK: I have not talked to Brad.
We’re trying to get Brad on this morning because I want to talk to Brad. Is that what he meant? Because he did say — I went back and listened to it. And I listened to it and I said, I brought Hannah and Tania and I said, “I want you to listen to this. Tell me what you get out of this.”
And they said that if he drops the Constitution, somebody’s got to find a way to stop him, but he doesn’t think anybody in Congress will have the spine. And I said, “Okay.”
“Matt Drudge is saying that Brad Thor was threatening his life and saying that somebody needed to kill him.” And they just laughed. And then they saw that I wasn’t laughing and they went, “That’s despicable.”
Now, I went back and I listened to it three times. And I’m like, okay, let me take myself out of my mindset and see how people could say that. And I did hear Brad Thor say, “look, I’m gonna say something that is dangerous to say, that is really tough to say and to hear. And I’m asking this as a thriller writer.”
Okay, so, “as a thriller writer,” what does that mean, Brad? Is that what you were saying? I don’t think so, because I know Brad Thor and I know — first thing, let me ask you this.
If you were going to ask — now remember, this is all framed in: he’s going to — there’s a possibility that he will suspend the Constitution and become a dictator. Okay? That’s the premise, not, “Hey, he’s going to do things we disagree with.” He’s going to suspend the Constitution and become a dictator.
BURGUIERE: Interestingly enough, that part was cut out of many of the audio clips that were posted. [CROSSTALK] In a stunning development, that premise was cut out.
BECK: It’s not Donald Trump today; it’s not Donald Trump as everybody hopes that he will be. It is: he becomes a South American dictator. Peron or Chavez. That’s what he said. He becomes Peron or Chavez. Will somebody stand up? How do you get him out of office at that point? That was the premise.
Now, let me ask you, Stu: I think everybody should agree that if Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Donald Trump — Glenn back is in office, and I become Hugo Chavez, and I suspend the Constitution. Let’s have a conversation. Glenn Beck becomes president the United States. Let’s go all where Matt Drudge said we were going with Glenn Beck.
Glenn Beck as the president of the United states. I have become Hugo Chavez. I’ve suspended the Constitution. Should somebody take me out? The answer is “Yes.” There should be a coup to restore the Constitution of the United States. How is that at all unreasonable to have that conversation?
BURGUIERE: You don’t even have to use any other example. If Hugo Chavez was president and he did what he did in Venezuela, would you want a coup? [CROSSTALK]
BECK: Use it on me.
BURGUIERE: Whoever it is, if Adolf Hitler became president of the United States, people would say, “Let’s get him out of office.”
BECK: Now, let me ask you this. Let’s say we’re having that conversation and it was about Donald Trump. Stu, would you even write that to me in an email?
BURGUIERE: [LAUGHTER] No.
BECK: No. Why?
GRAY: It could be misunderstood.
BECK: It could be misunderstood, and?
GRAY: Perceived as a threat.
BECK: It could be perceived as a threat. And? You know that the Secret Service will be on you. I mean, I talked about stabbing you — you.
BECK: Right, and —
GRAY: Which Drudge ALSO lied about.
BECK: He said that it was — said that I was threatening Donald Trump. I was threatening you.
BURGUIERE: And of course it’s important to note that Matt Drudge does not believe either of these things occurred. [CROSSTALK] He’s absolutely lying about it. He’s just trying to get people to turn on you to defend his boy. He does not believe in any way In either instance that someone was threatened.
BECK: Correct. So we are smart enough that even if we DID believe that and it was under the Hugo Chavez umbrella that Brad Thor put ou there, we wouldn’t even write it, let alone go on the radio with it, for the love of God.
If you wouldn’t write it in an email, you think we’re going to get on and talk to TEN MILLION people and say, “Hey, I’m just thinking out loud, what do you say we shoot somebody in the head?” Are you crazy?
BURGUIERE: Absolutely not.
BURGUIERE: And if you’re in a world where you’re delusional enough to believe that a number-one bestselling thriller author is coming on national radio advocating for assassination, you’re an idiot. You’re just straight out a moron.
GRAY: It’s amazing how everybody fell into that. I mean, everybody who wanted to fall [CROSSTALK] fell right in line.
BECK: I was shocked — last night, I was on with Bill O’Reilly. And Bill O’Reilly said, “welcome back, where’ve you been?” I used it to make a joke, and I said, “I clearly was trapped in a fudge factory and had to eat my way out.”
GRAY: That’s not a joke, what are you talking about, “joking”?
BECK: So I posted it, and it was a great interview. Bill was great and we had a really good conversation. And it was a typical Glenn Beck-Bill O’Reilly interview, which usually goes over really well with the audience. Oh, my gosh.
GRAY: Not anymore. They’re done with Fox. Just done with Fox.
BECK: I mean, I was shocked.
GRAY: I think they’re done with Drudge; I think they’re done with Fox. They’re done with these people who are blatant about their agenda yet try to hide it. I think they’re sick of it.
BURGUIERE: I don’t think that’s about Bill.
GRAY: It’s not Bill, it’s Fox.
BECK: Yeah, but everybody’s being painted with the same brush. Bill is a strong Donald Trump supporter. Big Donald Trump supporter. But I think everybody knows that, and I don’t think that — well, maybe he does. I haven’t watched. I kind of gave up on Fox for a while so I haven’t watched what he was saying, but he’s pretty clear about it, right? He’s not saying — he’s like, “Look, I know him and…”
GRAY: I don’t know if he’s ever expressed support for him.
BURGUIERE: He’s not the type of guy who comes — he’s more of a journalist. He doesn’t come out. I mean, he’s an opinion guy, clearly, but he has a journalism background. He doesn’t come out and advocate for candidates like some other hosts do. For example, I would never picture Bill O’Reilly on a bus going from town to town in Iowa like you did for a candidate. That’s not Bill O’Reilly; it’s not what he does.
It’s not what he does.
BECK: So the thing is, the point of this conversation is we really have to decide who we are, because our principles are sliding. First, our principles were — I thought about this last night.
We should get out the conversation we had over a year ago when we all thought it would be Jeb Bush and we all said, “we’re not going to vote for the G.O.P. if they give us somebody like Jeb Bush, who’s not constitutional, who’s a progressive. Don’t do it.” Pat, I made you promise if I start to slide, you’ve got to come to me and say “stop it,” and slap me across the face. Remember this?
On the air. We have to find that piece of audio.
We said that over a year ago. We didn’t see Donald Trump coming. We all prepared for Jeb Bush. Well, now we’re here and we’re standing on the exact principle that everyone in our audience celebrated when you thought it was going to be Jeb Bush — celebrated that idea.
Now, everybody’s playing the same game. We’re not. So our principles — not ours — many people who claim to be conservatives and constitutionalists, their principles have started to slide.
I want you to understand that now your principles are sliding in media. I sat with people at Facebook. They wanted diversity training and sensitivity training. I heard conservatives say they wanted hiring quotas. There’s your principle going away. And now you have, again, something so outrageous happening on Drudge yesterday.
You must stand for your principles and not engage because there may be a time where our voices aren’t heard. Youre going to be the one with credibility. You must maintain your credibility. You must not engage in conspiracy theories. You must not engage in just pushing an agenda. Tou have to be rooted in the truth.
BECK: All right. So we have Brad Thor. He’s going to be calling in in just a minute, and we’ll get it from the horse’s mouth.
But here’s what he said yesterday. Now, you have to put this into context. CONTEXT MATTERS. Put this into context.
He’s talking about South American dictators that he has read about. And he said, “I thought that Donald Trump had the earmarks of Mussolini,” he said, “but as I read something in Foreign Affairs about the” — what is it, the Caudillos? The Caudillos in South America. Eva Peron and her husband and Hugo Chavez. He said, “I think he has the earmarks of a South American dictator. And if he would suspend the Constitution and become a dictator, what do we do?”
Now, his earlier point was, people are saying that Donald Trump could be really good-talked about. But if you believe that there is a ten percent chance, a five percent chance —
GRAY: You want to gamble with the future of the nation? You’re gonna gamble?
BECK: If you think there’s a chance that he could say, like he has already said, the First Amendment needs to be rewritten, because the First Amendment — we need to be able to sue people that say, quote. I don’t wanna say “quote,” ’cause now I can’t remember exactly how he said it.
But basically, people who say bad things about me, I need to be able to take into court. And so what he was talking about, freedom —
BURGUIERE: Libel laws, and —
BECK: Yeah, he was talking about libel laws and making them easier to sue against members of the press. I have no doubt, no doubt, that this man will do everything he can — behind the scenes, just like Barack Obama did — to silence voices like mine. Now that’s behind the scenes and that’s not necessarily using the government to do it.
But if he uses the government to take away people’s rights AND BECOMES HUGO CHAVEZ —
BURGUIERE: Suspends the Constitution. Think about what we’re talking about here. And that was —
BECK: We’re not talking about him today.
BURGUIERE: Some people on Twitter, as we’re having this conversation, are saying, “Well, Glenn’s talking about Jimmy Stewart, and Stu’s talking about the guy in the Nazi crowd who doesn’t do the Heil Hitler. He’s the guy that resists it. Those things aren’t illegal, he said he was going to do something illegal.” In a dictatorship those things are illegal!
PAT GRAY: However, he didn’t say anything about he’s gonna do something illegal. He said there will be no legal way to remove the man from office. That’s what he said. He didn’t say somebody should do something illegal. He didn’t say any of that. He made no threat about it.
BURGUIERE: Standing on principle in a moment when you’re facing against a dictator becomes illegal. That’s the danger about it. That’s why we have the Constitution and the First Amendment, so those things are never ever going to be illegal. If you SUSPEND the Constitution, those things BECOME illegal. That’s why you need to make sure you stand up against those things.
BECK: And that’s why you need to make sure you stand up for the Constitution when you have the ability to stand up for the Constitution.
BECK: So, we’re having this conversation — let me just say this. Anybody who is even on — I didn’t get this from the conversation yesterday. We’re going off of what people are saying that Brad Thor meant. Maybe he did. We’ll heard from Brad. He’s supposed to be on the phone with us now, but we’re waiting for him to call in. Let him explain it.
But I want you to know. If we had this conversation about Barack Obama, and we said, “Should there be a coup against Barack Obama if he suspended the Constitution, enacted martial law, or became Hugo Chavez, every single one of these rat bastards who are now defending Donald Trump would have all said, “Damn right! A coup? I’ll do it myself!”
BECK: You know they would have. We’re — put this into the context of, if Hillary Clinton would become Hugo Chavez, should there be a coup —
BURGUIERE: Hugo Chavez, think about what that means. It’s no U.S. Constitution, it’s no Bill of Rights; the Declaration of Independence has no influence on our society anymore. There is no Congress to fight back.
BECK: There’s total control.
BURGUIERE: And what he said, when he said a thriller writer, that made me think. We’re looking into — this is a fantasy, essentially.
BECK: Or a reasonable worst-case scenario.
GRAY: I think we’re making it worse that it is. Play the —
BRAD THOR: It is a hypothetical I am going to ask a thriller writer. With the feckless, spineless Congress we have, who will stand in the way of Donald Trump overstepping his constitutional authority as President?
If Congress won’t remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that if, if, he oversteps his mandate as president, his constitutional-granted authority, I should say, as president.
If he oversteps that, how do we get him out of office? And I don’t think there is a legal means available. I think it will be a terrible, terrible position the American people will be in to get Trump out of office because you won’t be able to do it through Congress.
BECK: Okay, so that’s all he said.
[Left out of the Thor audio, after much harping about context, is this statement Beck partially paraphrased earlier: “He is a danger to America and I got to ask you a question and this is serious and this could bring down incredible heat on me because I’m about to suggest something very bad. It is a hypothetical I am going to ask as a thriller writer.” This goes far beyond Beck’s characterization: “something that is dangerous to say, that is really tough to say and to hear.”]
BECK: Now the reason why he said this was — prior to that, he said if you think there’s a five percent chance that he might become, like Brad Thor believes, a caudillo, a South American dictator — you can’t compromise and say, “Hey let’s vote.”
He was talking about these weasels who are now saying we’ve got to get on board. We’ve got to get on board.
GRAY: Roll the dice! “Hey, he’s better than Hillary.” You don’t know that!
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