"Fox & Friends Weekend" co-host Pete Hegseth falsely claimed Friday that the media and Democrats are agents of Russia, because they are allegedly attempting to delegitimize President Donald Trump.
"Every single media member in that clip, every single Democrat that parrots what they are saying — they're working together. They are the agents of Russia," Hegseth told "Fox & Friends."
His comments came after the president's favorite morning show aired a montage of media outlets and Democrats discussing a recent report that Russia was trying to help Trump get re-elected.
"This is what Russia wants," Hegseth said. "They want to sow discord, and misinformation and delegitimize our republic — destabilize it — because they are not our friends. And they know that when we're strong, they are in a worse position."
He later added Democrats and the media "keep falling for it, because they hate Trump so much they are willing to parrot what the Kremlin is saying. They are the agents of Russia. Not Donald Trump — not this White House. It is the people that are spinning this and continuing to drive this narrative."
The "New York Times" reported Thursday that intelligence officials warned House members that Russia was meddling in the 2020 presidential election to help Trump win a second term. The outlet also reported that one day after the meeting between lawmakers and intelligence officials, Trump berated outgoing acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire for allowing intelligence officials to consult members of Congress on that topic.
This is consistent with the president's repeated claims that Russia did not help him win the 2016 presidential election, as well as the Republican Party's broader refusal to increase election security or acknowledge the threat posed by Russia.
Though Hegseth attempted to paint the media and Democrats as being pro-Russia, Trump is an outlier in his attempt to cozy up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"He's unique in the way that he talks about Putin. Nobody, not even anybody in his own administration by the way, talks in such glowing terms about Vladimir Putin as President Trump does," former U. S. ambassador Michael McFaul told Salon in June. He also told Salon that "things that the president says serves Russia's national interest, as defined by Putin. I want to be very clear about that: as defined by Putin." After noting that other Russians do not share Putin's view of what serves their country's interests, McFaul pointed out that "when the president, for instance, refuses to acknowledge that we were attacked in 2016, as he's done repeatedly for years now, that serves Putin's interest, not America's national interest."
This is not the first time that Hegseth has accused Democrats of being loyal to a foreign entity. He claimed in July that Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., has a "Hamas agenda" over her criticisms of Israel. Hegseth has also characterized Trump as a master of crafting foreign policy, such as last month when he praised Trump bombing Iran by saying: "When I hear talk about, 'Well, now it's time to get back to the table and talk,' I say they need to come back to the table for talks on their nuclear capabilities, they need to come back limping and begging — not seething."
Watch the video at Media Matters for America: