Fox News host Sean Hannity warned Iran on Tuesday night that their oil refineries “could soon go up in flames” and their nuclear sites could be “annihilated” following Iranian missile attacks on Iraqi bases housing American troops.
With the launch of over a dozen ballistic missiles by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps— which claimed the strikes were “vengeance” for the assassination of Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani—representing a major escalation of hostilities in the region, Hannity advocated for a large-scale retaliation by the United States.
“We are just finding out how stupid the leaders of Iran actually are,” the pro-Trump host exclaimed. “They actually think they can attack America and get away with it. I think they need to think again.”
“There is a massive price to pay,” Hannity, sometimes referred as President Donald Trump’s shadow chief of staff, continued. “They don’t get to do what they did tonight. They have now been begging—the president wanted to talk and wants peace. They are going to get hit hard. Their hostility will now be met with the full force of the greatest, most advanced, most sophisticated military this world has ever seen.”
At the same time, the Fox primetime star—who was one of the biggest proponents of the Iraq War—insisted that he did not want a ground war with Iran.
“We don't want boots on the ground,” Hannity declared. “The president has made it clear that he's not putting boots on the ground. Might need a few more intelligence people to protect very specific areas. I know the Washington swamp creatures, they like to send our kids to war.”
Hannity went on to repeatedly push for the American military to respond by taking out Iran’s infrastructure, economic pipelines, and political leadership.
“As Lindsey Graham tweeted out over the weekend, if you work in an Iranian refinery, you might want to get a new job,” he proclaimed. “I’d start now. The three major refineries could soon go up in flames.”
“Their illicit nuclear sites may finally be annihilated,” Hannity added. “And the mullahs of Iran, they may want to keep a watchful eye on the sky tonight as they look from their bunkers, where I’m sure they are hiding. Powerful U.S. military forces, they are in position tonight. We can report six B-52 bombers are on their way to the region.”
Later in the program, Hannity welcomed on Graham, who said that Iran’s action was definitely an “act of war” and that the president had “the authority under Article II to respond.”
The Republican senator also said he just got off the phone with Trump before delivering a final message to Iran: “Your fate is in your own hands in terms of the regime's economic viability. You continue this crap you're going to wake up one day out of the oil business.”
Moments later, the president—who decided against delivering an Oval Office address to the nation tonight—took to Twitter to declare: “All is well!”
“Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now,” Trump added. “So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well-equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.”
Reached by phone shortly after his appearance on Hannity’s show ended, Graham declined to tell The Daily Beast what President Trump had told him over the phone earlier that evening, instead cryptically hinting, “I think you’ll be hearing about it in the coming days,” before hanging up.
What Trump watches on Fox News and Fox Business often appears to influence not only his political messaging, but also his decision-making and strategy. Not long after he ordered the airstrike that killed Iran’s top military leader, Trump repeatedly threatened that he had in his sights “very high level & important” Iranian locations, should the regime choose to escalate matters further. Trump tweeted that he could even target Iran’s cultural sites, attacks that would amount to war crimes.
In the days following the U.S. strike, some of Trump’s favorite Fox hosts, including Hannity and Pete Hegseth—both of whom privately advise this president on a variety of matters and policies—used their airtime to start picking potential Iran targets on which Trump could pull the trigger.