Pete Hegseth

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Pete Hegseth
Pete Hegseth by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Hegseth in 2018
Personal details
Peter Brian Hegseth

(1980-06-06) June 6, 1980 (age 38)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationPrinceton University (BA)
Harvard University (MPP)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service2003–2014
RankUS-O4 insignia.svg Major
UnitUnited States Army National Guard
Individual Ready Reserve
Battles/warsIraq War
War in Afghanistan
AwardsBronze Star
Army Commendation Medal (2)
Expert Infantryman Badge
Combat Infantryman Badge

Peter Brian Hegseth (born June 6, 1980) is an American Fox News Channel contributor.[1] He served in the U.S. military with deployments to Cuba and Iraq.

He is a former reserve military officer and former executive director of the political advocacy groups Vets For Freedom and Concerned Veterans for America. The latter is a conservative advocacy group funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, which advocates for greater privatization of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).[2] He was in consideration to head the United States Department of Veteran Affairs in the Trump administration, but major veterans' groups objected, and in January 2017, David Shulkin was selected instead.[3][4]


Hegseth attended Forest Lake Area High School in Forest Lake, Minnesota, and received his Bachelor of Arts at Princeton University in 2003.[5] In 2013, he received a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[citation needed]

At Princeton, Hegseth was the editor of the Princeton Tory, a conservative student-run publication.

Military career[edit]

Following graduation from Princeton in 2003, Hegseth joined Bear Stearns as an equity capital markets analyst and was also commissioned as a reserve infantry officer into the U.S. Army National Guard.[6] In 2004 his unit was called to Guantánamo Bay, where he served as an infantry platoon leader. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. Shortly after returning from Cuba, Hegseth volunteered to serve in Baghdad and Samarra, where he held the position of infantry platoon leader and, later in Samarra, as civil–military operations officer. During his time in Iraq, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, and a second Army Commendation Medal.[7]

Conservative activism[edit]

Upon return from Iraq, Hegseth worked briefly at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. According to his LinkedIn page, Hegseth left the conservative think tank in 2007 to work at Vets For Freedom as executive director.[8] He worked at Vets for Freedom until 2012.[8] Vets for Freedom advocated for a greater troop presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.[8] Hegseth formed the political action committee MN PAC in 2012.[8]

Hegseth was the executive director for Concerned Veterans for America, an advocacy group funded by the billionaire Koch brothers.[2] The group advocated for greater privatization of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).[2] According to his LinkedIn page, he left the group in 2015.[2]

Spending controversy[edit]

While Hegseth was the chief executive of Concerned Veterans for America, he hired his brother Philip to work for the non-profit and paid him $108,000 according to tax records from 2016 and 2017.[8]

While Hegseth ran the political action committee (PAC) MN PAC, he spent one third of the PAC's resources on Christmas parties for families and friends.[8] Less than half of the PAC's resources was spent on candidates.[8]


During the 2016 Republican primaries, he initially backed Marco Rubio, then Ted Cruz and ultimately Donald Trump.[8] Hegseth has since then emerged as a strong Trump supporter.[8] As a Fox News personality, he has frequently attacked the media, Democrats and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.[8]

Fox News[edit]

Hegseth has appeared on Fox News Channel, as well as on CNN and MSNBC.[9][10][11] Hegseth joined Fox News as a contributor in 2014.[8]

On June 14, 2015, Hegseth threw an axe which struck and injured a member of the West Point Hellcats.[12] During a live broadcast on Fox & Friends promoting an upcoming segment about the Stihl Timbersports Series, the co-host threw a double-bit lumberjack axe that overshot the wooden target and hit drummer SFC Jeff Prosperie across his right elbow.[13] The axe head hit broadside on the arm such that Prosperie narrowly missed significant injury, but he did sustain minor cuts across the wrist as the axe tumbled after the initial impact. Coordination of the event and broadcast between the West Point Band and Fox had assured that there would be no axe throwing while the service members were performing behind the target.[14][15]

In September 2017, Hegseth interviewed President Donald Trump. Hegseth received criticism for allowing Trump to make false claims without challenging him.[16][17] For instance, Trump falsely asserted on at least six instances in the interview that the attempt to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act failed because of a "hospitalized senator", yet Hegseth never pressed him on it.[16][17][18] According to an opinion column in the Washington Post, Hegseth's "interview was notable for one reason: A viewer who got most of his news from Fox heard only scant details about the contents of Cassidy-Graham. As with the previous attempts to partially repeal the ACA, the bill was covered less for its substance than as a question of whether Republicans could deliver a "win" on a key issue."[19] Philip Bump of the Washington Post provided a list of all notable claims that Trump made during the interview that, in his opinion, warranted follow-up questions which Hegseth never asked.[20] Hegseth has been speculatively mentioned as a hypothetical replacement for VA Secretary David Shulkin.[21]

In May 2018, Hegseth mocked The New York Times for ostensibly not covering a story about the capture of five ISIS leaders, referring to the paper as the "failing New York Times".[22] However, it was The New York Times that broke the story in question.[22]

In May 2019, it was reported that Trump was considering pardoning several U.S. military service members who had been charged and convicted with war crimes, including a veteran set to stand trial for shooting indiscriminately at civilians, hitting a girl and an elderly man, as well as fatally stabbing a captured teenage Islamic State while he was receiving medical treatment. The Daily Beast and CNN later reported that Hegseth had for months sought to convince Trump to pardon these individuals. At the same time, Hegseth was discussing these cases on Fox News without disclosing that he had advised Trump to pardon them.[23][24]

2012 Senate campaign[edit]

Hegseth ran for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate election in Minnesota, 2012.[8] He lost the Republican party primary to Kurt Bills.

Personal life[edit]

Hegseth was divorced from his first wife, Meredith Schwarz, in 2009. He married his second wife, Samantha, in 2010; they have three children.[8] Hegseth had a daughter with Fox Executive Producer Jennifer Rauchet in August 2017. He and Samantha divorced later in 2017.[25]

Awards, decorations, and badges[edit]

Combat Infantry Badge.svg  Combat Infantryman Badge

Bronze Star Medal ribbon.svg Bronze Star
Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svg Army Commendation Medal
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal ribbon.svg Afghanistan Campaign Medal Iraq Campaign Medal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Expert Infantry Badge.svg   Expert Infantryman Badge


  1. ^ "Pete Hegseth". Fox News. December 1, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d CNN, Juana Summers,. "Veterans groups sound the alarm on Trump's plan to replace VA secretary". CNN. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  3. ^ DAVE PHILIPPS, "Head of Veterans Health System Is Trump's Pick to Lead Veterans Affairs", The New York Times, January 11, 2017.
  4. ^ Veterans Groups Urge Trump to Keep Obama’s V.A. Secretary, Dave Philipps, The New York Times, December 12, 2016
  5. ^ Riese, Clint. "Hegseth weighing U.S. Senate bid". The Forest Lake Times. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  6. ^ Kersten, Katherine (July 19, 2007). "Minnesota warrior takes his fight from Iraq to Washington". Minnesota Star Tribune.
  7. ^ Rowland, Kara. "Pete Hegseth - Bio, News, Photos". Washington Times. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Words and deeds out of alignment for potential Cabinet appointment and Fox News personality". Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  9. ^ "Vets for Freedom". Vets for Freedom. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved December 27, 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved December 27, 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Fox & Friends Co-Host Pete Hegseth Hits Man with Axe". Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  13. ^ "Jeff Prosperie". Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  14. ^ "'Fox & Friends' co-host hits bystander with flying ax on TV". NY Daily News. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  15. ^ Rules, NRA Gun Safety. "NRA Gun Safety Rules". Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Trump keeps saying Graham-Cassidy failed because a senator's in the hospital". Vox. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Twitter's turn; Trump's fake "hospital;" Russia's warning; Hannity v. Maddow; NFL update; new Onion editor; Mark Felt film". Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  18. ^ Miller, Hayley (September 28, 2017). "Donald Trump Repeats False Claim That GOP Senator Was 'In The Hospital'". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  19. ^ Weigel, David (September 28, 2017). "Analysis | As Obamacare repeal struggled, Fox News mostly looked away". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  20. ^ Bump, Philip (September 28, 2017). "Analysis | We've got some follow-up questions from Trump's friendly 'Fox and Friends' interview". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  21. ^ Bacon, Perry, Jr. (March 23, 2018). "Trump Is Bringing In Loyalists And Getting Rid Of Critics". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  22. ^ a b Gstalter, Morgan (May 11, 2018). "'Fox & Friends' host mocks NYT for not covering story it reported". TheHill. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  23. ^ Kirell, Asawin Suebsaeng|Sam Brodey|Andrew (May 21, 2019). "Fox News Host Pete Hegseth Privately Lobbied Trump to Pardon Accused War Criminals". Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  24. ^ CNN, Oliver Darcy. "Fox News host Pete Hegseth has privately encouraged Trump to pardon servicemen accused of war crimes". CNN. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  25. ^ Scheck, Tom. "Words and deeds out of alignment for potential Cabinet appointment and Fox News personality".

External links[edit]