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Fox’s Bret Baier: Jan. 6 was a ‘dark day’ for US ‘similar to what we saw in 1876’

Fox News anchor Bret Baier described the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol carried out by supporters of former President Trump as a “dark day” for the country, one that he likened to “what we saw in 1876” amid a post-Civil War political crisis. 

Baier appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Wednesday to promote his new book on former President Ulysses S. Grant, which opens with the Jan. 6 riot in 2021. 

“I was ending the book and putting all of these things together and I was covering Jan. 6 and covering all of the riot and all that was happening in real time,” Baier, who anchored Fox News’s coverage of the events on Capitol Hill that day, told Colbert.

“And in 1876, which was really the climax of this book, Grant as president makes a grand bargain and holds the country together as an election is contested. Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina refuse to move electors up, so he does this grand bargain with Republicans and Democrats to hold everything together.” 

Baier likened that post-Civil War crisis in American electoral politics to the 2020 presidential election, which he said was “another election where there were people very upset about it.” 

Trump and his surrogates repeatedly floated baseless conspiracies about voter fraud in the days that followed the election. Several people who participated in the rioting on Jan. 6 said Trump had “sent them” and expressed frustration with a “rigged” election. 

“And that moment, that chaos, that dark day up in Washington is similar to what we saw in 1876,” Baier said. 

The attack on the Capitol sparked Trump’s second impeachment in the U.S. House. He was later acquitted by the Senate.  

A bipartisan group of lawmakers earlier this year established a congressional commission to investigate the events that led to the Jan. 6 attack, which has been widely condemned by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Last month, Baier’s Fox News colleague Chris Wallace told Colbert he has “purposely” kept lawmakers who have spread unfounded conspiracy theories about electoral fraud and suggested President Biden‘s win in 2020 was not legitimate off the Sunday news program he hosts.

“And [I] have purposefully not had them on, frankly, because I don’t want to hear their crap,” Wallace said. 

Some leading Republican figures have attempted to distance themselves from the Jan. 6 attack or downplay its significance.  

“I know the media wants to distract from the Biden administration’s failed agenda by focusing on one day in January,” former Vice President Mike Pence, who is seen as a potential candidate for president in 2024, said during an interview Monday on Fox News host Sean Hannity‘s program.

“They want to use that one day to try and demean the character and intentions of 74 million Americans who believed we could be strong again and prosperous again, and supported our administration in 2016 and 2020,” he added.  

Tags Bret Baier Chris Wallace Chris Wallace Donald Trump Donald Trump Fox News Joe Biden Mike Pence Sean Hannity Stephen Colbert United States presidential election

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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