INTERVIEW: Sean Hannity on his new book, Trump’s presidency and QAnon

In this March 4, 2016 file photo, Sean Hannity of Fox News appears at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md.
Caption
In this March 4, 2016 file photo, Sean Hannity of Fox News appears at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md.

Credit: Carolyn Kaster

Credit: Carolyn Kaster

He says he has nothing but warm memories of his time in Atlanta.

Sean Hannity, while promoting his No. 1 bestselling book, “Live Free or Die,” said Wednesday that he had no idea what QAnon is or neither who is Georgia House candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene.

“I see the articles” about QAnon, he said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I have no earthly idea what it’s about at all. One person tried to explain to me. It’s what? Who’s that?”

Hannity said he doesn’t wander around social media fishing for conspiracy theories: " I don’t have access to my own social media accounts. Everything I post gets vetted.”

QAnon is an amorphous group that believes in far-right conspiracy theories focused on a supposed secret plot by an alleged “deep state” against President Donald Trump and his supporters.

As for Greene, who won Georgia’s 14th Congressional District GOP runoff this week, he said he didn’t know her. She has posted racist and anti-Muslim videos on social media and has spread QAnon conspiracy theories, such as the lie that wealthy Democratic supporter and billionaire George Soros sent Jewish people to die during the Holocaust. Soros, who is Jewish, was a teenager at the time. In her victory speech Wednesday, she also explicitly called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “anti-American” and an expletive usually directed at women.

ExploreOPINION: Who’s crazy? Marjorie Taylor Greene or her Georgia voters?

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Credit: Simon and Schuster

Hannity, who spends three hours a day on his syndicated radio show followed by an hour on Fox News at 9 p.m., is busy enough keeping up with the torrent of news that seems to be happening every day. He worked at former news/talk station 640/WGST-AM from 1992 to 1996 before being hired by Fox News and still has a deep love for Atlanta.

“Next time I go to Atlanta, the first place I’m going is the Varsity,” said Hannity, who lives on Long Island in New York. “I really want a hot dog there!”

Caption
Sean Hannity with Herman Cain backstage at the Fox Theatre in 2012 during a retirement party for Neal Boortz. Hannity said Cain, who died July 30, 2020, "lit up a room" whenever he entered it. Photo: Rodney Ho/AJC

Credit: Rodney Ho

Sean Hannity with Herman Cain backstage at the Fox Theatre in 2012 during a retirement party for Neal Boortz. Hannity said Cain, who died July 30, 2020, "lit up a room" whenever he entered it. Photo: Rodney Ho/AJC
Caption
Sean Hannity with Herman Cain backstage at the Fox Theatre in 2012 during a retirement party for Neal Boortz. Hannity said Cain, who died July 30, 2020, "lit up a room" whenever he entered it. Photo: Rodney Ho/AJC

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Heard locally on WSB radio, Hannity attracts more than 10 million daily listeners nationwide and is considered the most influential radio talk show host in the country by Talkers magazine, which tracks talk radio. This year, Hannity has brought an average of 4.2 million viewers on Fox News, the most of any cable news host, easily beating MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and CNN’s Chris Cuomo in his time slot. His TV ratings have only gone up in recent months since the pandemic began.

For years, Hannity has been a loyal supporter of Trump, who he said has been a longtime friend. News reports have alleged they talk almost every night, which he would neither confirm nor deny.

“Live Free or Die” is Hannity’s first book in a decade. (It’s available on Amazon here.) “For years, I told all my friends if I talk about writing another book, you have permission to take a baseball bat and hit me on the head,” he said.

But last year, he decided to do one anyway, citing he was deeply concerned about attacks on Trump by the left and proposals such as the Green New Deal and free tuition he sees as financially ruinous.

“Bernie Sanders and his socialist ideals used to be an outlier even in the Democratic Party,” Hannity said. “But now his economic plan is Joe Biden’s plan ... By the time they’re done picking our pockets and consolidating power, we won’t have a free country.”

He considers this November a “tipping-point election” that requires another four years of Trump leading the cause: “This is a five-alarm fire in my heart, solar plexus and soul.”

His book, he said, is a way to go deeper than he could on his shows about the foundational principles of the founding fathers, the failures of socialism and the extreme positions of liberals. He also spends 37 pages touting the successes of Trump’s four years in office, from deregulation to trade to judge selection. And he included a chapter defending Trump’s coronavirus response.

Though Trump’s positions have changed over the years on subjects such as abortion and health care, Hannity said Trump has been consistently supportive of core conservative issues while in the White House.

“I knew the real story,” he said. “It was real. He has become the most conservative president with the boldest actions of any president. He’s a transformative figure.” He compared Trump to Ronald Reagan and former Georgian Newt Gingrich, who Hannity became close to while he was commentating about politics on WGST. “I was at the mic at the Cobb Galleria with Gingrich when Republicans won the House in 1994 for the first time in 40 years,” he said.

And while Hannity is happy his book is No. 1 on both the Amazon and New York Times non-fiction bestseller lists, that isn’t why he wrote it, he said. (It didn’t hurt that Trump Tweeted a recommendation of Hannity’s book on August 2, two days before its release.)

“I want the country to be No. 1,” Hannity said. “I want the America that gave me opportunities I didn’t deserve, to give every man, woman and child in this country the same opportunities. I want our cities to be safe. I want a solid educational system. I want us to lead the world in innovation, creativity and invention.”

Caption
Sean Hannity (center) flew down to the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame gala in 2018 to introduce his former WGST boss Eric Seidel, who was inducted that year. John Long (left) runs the hall of fame.

Credit: Georgia Radio Hall of Fam

Sean Hannity (center) flew down to the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame gala in 2018 to introduce his former WGST boss Eric Seidel, who was inducted that year. John Long (left) runs the hall of fame.
Caption
Sean Hannity (center) flew down to the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame gala in 2018 to introduce his former WGST boss Eric Seidel, who was inducted that year. John Long (left) runs the hall of fame.

Credit: Georgia Radio Hall of Fam

Credit: Georgia Radio Hall of Fam

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