HH: Joined by very special guest, a long-time friend and the nicest guy in the radio business, Sean Hannity. Sean, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show, good to have you here this morning.
SH: My friend, how are you? It’s always good to be with you. And you look, why do you wear a suit in the morning? Do they make you do this at Salem Radio?
HH: Because Dave Santrella and Phil Boyce are here. My bosses are here.
SH: I, you, there’s nothing that you can do to get me in a tie except pay a lot of money.
HH: Did you wear jeans to the White House when you sat down with the President? Did you wear jeans?
SH: It’s the only time I put on a full suit.
HH: All right, I got it. Admission against interest.
HH: Hannity, I’m looking at this poster here, Let There Be Light.
HH: From executive producer Sean Hannity, Wednesday at 9:30. That’s why you’re at the NRB. What is Let There Be Light, because you, like me, are a Roman Catholic kid, and you’re here among all the Evangelicals. What are we doing here?
SH: Did you see, I did not watch the Oscars, because I knew it was going to be bad.
HH: I saw the very beginning. I didn’t see the end
SH: Yeah, okay, so I knew it was going to be bad, and I read all the headlines this morning. There’s such contempt, seriously. Movies are trivial. They’re formulaic. These movies are, you know, how many more cartoon character movies are we going to see? I mean, they’re fine. I don’t have a problem with just pure entertainment. The movies that I like the most touch my heart. The movies that I like the most move me. The movies that I like the most make me think. And I just, I got involved with this with Kevin Sorbo and Sam Sorbo. Sam Sorbo and a guy by the name of Dan Gordon came in my office one day. They told me this script. I was blown away by it, and I said I want to be a part of this. I want to, not to be in the movie. I’m in the movie, but that’s not why I did it. It’s a very small part. But it’s the message of the movie, and it’s a story about very contemporary, where you have a guy that wrote a book, Aborting God. And the movie starts out, there is a debate scene going on like you’d see on a college campus today. And the guy that is the atheist is beating the living daylights out of the guy that humbly is a Christian. And the crowd is going crazy, and everything that this guy says, he’s a glitterati, paparazzi, New York Times-loved best author. And so we go through the transformation of his life, and certain things happen to him, without giving the whole story away. We see that he left his wife, that he’s divorced, that he’s taking pills, that he’s drinking, his life’s a total mess. And one of the reasons is he had lost a nine year old little boy. He has an experience where he crashes his car, near death, sees his son, and it’s a journey back. But there’s a lot of twists and turns in the journey as it relates…
HH: Oh, so it grabs, you know, you can lose a lot of money in the movies.
SH: Yeah, I know.
HH: And people promote you all the time. I’ve been in your green room when people come in to promote you on different stuff.
SH: I could lose a fortune on this, yes.
HH: And you’re always very, you could lose a lot..
HH: So it must have really grabbed you.
SH: It really grabbed me. There’s no other way to do it. When I saw the rough cut, I’ve not seen the final cut of the movie, yet. I showed it to ten people. Didn’t even let them know I was involved in the movie. Every one of them laughed, every one of them cried, every one of them was touched by it, every one of them was moved by it.
HH: You see, this a real story that maybe many people won’t get. People like you get promoted all the time to invest in various things. You have to tell people no, nicely, because you know…
HH: So when I saw you were making a movie, I thought you’d lost your mind. I thought Campaign 2016 had gotten to Sean Hannity.
HH: Because I know a lot of people who have lost a lot of money in the movies, so you must have…
SH: By the way, a lot of our colleagues lost their minds during the 2016 Election, not just you and me, but…
HH: Of course. Of course, but…
SH: So the answer to your question is yeah, I mean, well, I’m looking for what I want in a movie.
HH: Good for you.
SH: I’ve got every single channel. I’ve got Showtime, every one. I’ve got Cinemax, every one. I’ve got On Demand, every one, HBO, Flix. You name it, I’ve got the channel. I’ve got a satellite, the full package, 570-so many channels.
SH: We did block the X rated channels, by the way, for those of you out there that think I’m a pervert. No. But we did block those. So, and how many times at night, Hugh, do I flip every channel, I go through every single channel, and I can’t find one thing to watch.
HH: Other than ESPN, right.
SH: ESPN, sometimes news…
HH: And sometimes, that’s political, too, yeah.
SH: …and Homeland. That’s about my selection.
HH: So let me ask you, then. You’re a Catholic, cradle Catholic like I am. You went to Pius the X. I went to Pius the X.
HH: I went to first and second grade. I think it was your high school.
SH: It was my high school. It was a preparatory seminary. Three months in, you had to say you would think about being a priest to get into the school. You just would have an open mind to it, or else you couldn’t get in.
HH: Who was the order? Which order taught it, Franciscans?
SH: No, no. It was just Roman Catholic priests. And so my father made me say yes, and three months in, they said everybody but you. We don’t want you. So…
HH: Okay, so here, you’re among all the Evangelicals.
HH: And so you’ve made an Evangelical movie, Let There Be Light. Any dissonance in that?
SH: To be perfectly honest, I’ve had a schism with the Catholic Church for obvious reasons. I can’t get over the level of corruption at a very high level. And I am a Christian. I believe every story, but I’m one of the sinner Christian guys. I’m the one that needs the light and the saving.
SH: So, but, you know, it’s funny. There was a guy that was on TV, I think it was Hannity and Colmes back in the day.
HH: I was just about to ask you about Alan.
SH: And it was, anyway, so it was back in the day, and the guy said he wouldn’t give me Communion, because I said non-Catholics, I’d prefer they use birth control than get an abortion. And he said I would never give you Communion in my church. And I said I’m talking about people that are not Catholic.
SH: I said anything other than abortion is better.
SH: And I got a call from Jerry Falwell, Sr. at the time, and he said that was officially a member of the Thomas Roads Baptist Church.
HH: You’re now in the Baptists…
HH: Now let’s talk about Alan. The first time I met you, he was your co-host, and then he went just to become a colleague at Fox. You can’t co-host with someone as many years as you did with Alan, how long did you work with Alan?
SH: 12 years.
HH: That’s a lot of time. People don’t, I did a ten year show with co-hosts. You know them intimately. How’s it affected you? He’s a young man. And then Bill Paxton died yesterday. He’s a young man.
SH: 60. You know, I, first, there’s not enough good I can say about him.
SH: You know, Hugh, I’m a radio guy. I got plucked out of Atlanta as a local radio host, and Roger Ailes gave both of us the chance of a lifetime. And there wasn’t a day that went by that we didn’t know or remember that we were very blessed and lucky, and we talked about it all throughout our run. And we were given the time to grow into the position, and we were lucky, because Fox was not, nothing at the time. We, in a very short period of time, we dethroned Larry King. We became the number one show in our time slot, the number two show in all of cable. We had the best run together. We feel like we were blessed together. But I’ve known he was sick for a long time. We had a lot of hope in the beginning, unfortunately, and things didn’t pan out. I don’t know, his family doesn’t want to talk about that part, but he, you know, it was very, it was a very hard weekend. I mean, I did probably more interviews, because I felt I really wanted to honor him because of his human grace and dignity, his friendship that we shared together. You know, I’ll give you one story. When he came in my office, and our offices were next to each other at Fox, and he told me he was sick, I, the first thing he did, which was quintessentially Alan, is he said to me you know, I can deal with all of this, but I’m really worried about my wife, Dr. Jocelyn Crowley. And that’s the kind of guy he was. He thought about other people before himself all the time. We never, he was real. He was a liberal’s liberal. We never agreed on politics. But when the light went off, we’d go out to dinner, we’d get a drink, we’d do whatever. It was a friendship.
HH: You know, why is it that the left can’t take the lesson? Alan, I just professional relations with him, not a friend like you. But he was quintessentially a gentleman. What has happened to that part of the left? It’s gone.
SH: It’s gone. He was the last one, I think, at the end of the day. You know, look, especially in light of the lack of civility today, look at the Oscars last night.
SH: I’m sure you’ve been talking about it this morning.
HH: Jimmy [Kimmel] went way over the top early.
SH: Well, I knew…
HH: Way over the top early.
SH: I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle it, so I didn’t watch it. I didn’t want to watch it. And look, I don’t care, because at the end of the day, their policies failed so spectacularly…
SH: …that if we don’t make a direction, they claim to have a monopoly on human compassion. But when you have 13 million more Americans on food stamps, and 8 million more in poverty, and the lowest home ownership rate in 51 years, and the lowest labor participation rate since the 70s, something’s radically wrong.
HH: So I’ve got to ask you about the President. As you know, I was neutral through the debates. I was mostly for him, campaigned for him, had a couple of episodes with him where I got off the Trump bus when he went after Judge Curiel and then after Hollywood Access. You were a stalwart. You were there 100%. What do you like about him the most? What do you like about him the least? No one ever asks, no one’s perfect, right? So what’s the best and what’s the worst of President Trump, Sean Hannity?
SH: The greatest characteristic this man has, and I’ve known him long before he ever thought about getting into politics, this guy has more courage than everybody at this convention combines. He’s fearless, fearless in that he’s going to stay on a position. You think of how many times during that campaign if you were advising him, I was advising him, we would say oh, no, no, you can’t do that. And his attitude is why? It’s true, I believe it, I’m going to be honest with the American people, I’m going to say it, and regardless of the consequences. That fearlessness made him the President of the United States. So and the other thing is, one other quality I love, and this is since he’s been in the White Houses, privately he said to me I’m here to do the job, a good job for the American people. I’m here to keep my promises. That is such the antithesis of what we get out of a politician. They say one thing during a primary, then they move to the center. And then by the time they get there, any promise that they ever made is dead, gone and buried.
HH: I ghosted a speech in the Washington Post today for him tonight. It’s called Call Me President Promise Keeper, because that is, it’s a key thing.
SH: It’s true.
HH: He’s President Promise Keeper. What’s the negative? What’s the one thing that bothers you about him?
SH: You know, we can all, he’s not a perfect person. And the difference between Trump and, say, other politicians, which is what I was just describing, they’ll say anything to get elected. He just stuck to what he believed in. And maybe that’s a fault. In other words, maybe he shouldn’t tweet out every thought he has.
SH: Maybe he’s a little too sensitive at times, I think.
HH: Are you going to get him to go see Let There Be Light?
SH: What time does it air?
HH: No, your movie. When are you going to, are you going to take it to the White House and screen it for him?
SH: I never thought about it, to be honest.
SH: But if he would like, well, I don’t believe in, all I want to do as a host for the next four years is get Americans working, keep this country safe and secure. The things that I said on the radio, I believe in, too, so…
HH: Well, listen, but a good movie, like Let There Be Light, you’ve got to go and screen it for the President and his family and let him see it.
SH: Okay, I’ll say Hugh Hewitt said…
HH: Hugh Hewitt said that. Now…
SH: By the way, he still likes you. I mean, you…
HH: Oh, I get along fine with him. I got my Trump tattoos. It’s fine.
SH: You voted for him.
HH: Of course. Not only that, I campaigned for him.
SH: I know you did.
HH: I just have my problems. It’s an up and down thing, and I believe, I think you’ll be objective about him.
HH: When he does a good thing, I’m going to say yeah. When he does a bad thing, I’m going to say nay, and I hope that the good’s a lot more often than the bad. And thus far, it has been.
SH: Neil Gorsuch alone…
SH: …is transformative.
SH: And that got me so angry about the NeverTrump people, because they would be, they were more willing to let Hillary make that choice, and that was not a possibility for me.
HH: And here at the National Religious Broadcasters Association, if we do not win Trinity Lutheran, which is going to be heard on April 19th, we will have lost the Free Exercise Clause. Gorsuch should be confirmed by then.
HH: But I am concerned about the pace, Sean. We’ve got one minute left. We are going very slow here. We need some appointees.
SH: I have done ripping monologues about how bad and pathetic and slow the Republicans are. It’s inexcusable they didn’t have the full replacement plan in place ready to go, so I literally called out Paul Ryan. And I went down to Washington, and I don’t know if you saw my interview with him.
SH: I challenged him. Do you support Trump on every item agenda that he ran on, vetting refugees, building the wall, repeal/replace, his economic plan, right down the line. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Okay, when can we expect the legislation? He promised me it’ll all be done in 200 days. If it’s not, I’m going to be more ripping mad, because this is our opportunity to stop the precipitous decline that the country is in.
HH: Certainly. Sean Hannity, you’re a great man. You’re going to talk to Eric Metaxas.
SH: All right, my friend, thank you.
HH: And Let There Will Be Light will be in theaters, I will make sure we promote it. Thank you for being here, Sean Hannity.
SH: Thank you, my friend.
End of interview.