Pete Hegseth is a name that resonates with millions of Americans who tune in to FOX News, but there is much more to this versatile individual than his role as co-host of FOX & Friends Weekend. Hegseth's journey has been marked by military service, political activism, and successful ventures in the world of media and literature.
Early Life and Education:
Peter Brian Hegseth was born on June 6, 1980, in Forest Lake, Minnesota. He attended Forest Lake Area High School before pursuing higher education at Princeton University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 2003. His journey in academia continued as he obtained a Master of Public Policy from the prestigious John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2013.
Hegseth's conservative inclinations became evident during his time at Princeton University, where he served as the publisher of The Princeton Tory, a student-run conservative publication. This early involvement in conservative journalism foreshadowed his future career as a commentator and author.
Pete Hegseth's Military Service:
Following his graduation from Princeton, Hegseth embarked on a dual career path. He joined Bear Stearns as an equity capital markets analyst while also being commissioned as a reserve infantry officer in the U.S. Army National Guard in 2003. His commitment to serving his country led him to various deployments and positions of responsibility within the military.
One significant chapter in his military career was his deployment to Guantánamo Bay in 2004, where he served as an infantry platoon leader with the Minnesota National Guard. His unit operated under the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. For his dedication and service during this deployment, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal.
Hegseth's journey continued as he volunteered for service in Baghdad and Samarra, taking on roles as an infantry platoon leader and civil–military operations officer. During his time in Iraq, he earned prestigious honors such as the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and a second Army Commendation Medal.
In 2012, Hegseth returned to active duty as a captain, deploying to Afghanistan with the Minnesota Army National Guard. There, he served as a senior counterinsurgency instructor at the Counterinsurgency Training Center in Kabul. Throughout his military career, he earned two Bronze Stars for his exceptional service overseas.
Conservative Activism and Advocacy:
Parallel to his military service, Pete Hegseth was actively engaged in conservative and Republican politics from his undergraduate years onward. He emerged as a strong supporter of conservative ideals, advocating for a robust U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2007, Hegseth briefly worked at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a conservative think tank. Subsequently, he assumed the role of executive director at Vets For Freedom, an organization dedicated to advocating for a larger troop presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. During his tenure, he also held the position of treasurer for the organization.
Hegseth continued his advocacy work when he founded the political action committee (PAC) MN PAC in 2012. This PAC played a role in supporting candidates who aligned with his conservative values.
Later, he took on the role of executive director for Concerned Veterans for America, a conservative advocacy group funded by the Koch brothers. This organization aimed to promote greater privatization of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Hegseth's advocacy work in this position made him a prominent figure in conservative circles.
2012 U.S. Senate Campaign:
In 2012, Pete Hegseth ventured into the world of politics by running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat in Minnesota. Although he withdrew from the race before the Republican primary election, his campaign allowed him to gain valuable experience in the political arena.
Punditry and Media Career:
Pete Hegseth's foray into media began when he joined FOX News as a contributor in 2014. Over the years, he has become a prominent figure on the network, contributing his conservative viewpoints to various programs.
During the 2016 Republican primaries, Hegseth initially supported Marco Rubio, then Ted Cruz, and ultimately Donald Trump. His support for Trump remained steadfast throughout the latter's presidency, making him a strong advocate for the Trump administration's policies and actions.
Hegseth's frequent appearances on FOX News include guest spots on programs such as "Unfiltered with Dan Bongino." He has also made appearances on other news networks, including CNN and MSNBC, where he has often engaged in debates and discussions on various political topics.
FOX News Roles:
Pete Hegseth's roles at FOX News extend beyond being a contributor. He has taken on several significant roles and responsibilities within the network:
1. Co-Host of FOX & Friends Weekend: Perhaps his most visible role, Hegseth co-hosts FOX & Friends Weekend, a popular morning show on FOX News. This role allows him to engage with a wide audience and discuss a range of current events and topics.
2. New Year's Eve Coverage: Hegseth co-hosts FOX News' New Year's Eve coverage alongside his FOX & Friends Weekend co-hosts. This special broadcast allows him to bring his energy and commentary to viewers as they ring in the new year.
3. Guest-Hosting Various Shows: He is a regular guest host for a range of FOX News programs, including FOX & Friends (weekday), The Five, Hannity, Ingraham Angle, and Jesse Watters Primetime. This versatility showcases his ability to adapt to different formats and discussions.
4. FOX Nation Hosting: Beyond his role on FOX News, Hegseth is also the host of multiple ongoing series on FOX Nation, FOX News' streaming platform. These series cover a wide range of topics, including the military, Israel, education, history, and Christianity. Notable series include "Modern Warriors," "Battle in the Holy Land," "The MisEducation of America," "Untold: Patriots Revealed," and "The Life of Jesus."
5. FOX Nation Patriot Awards: Hegseth hosts the flagship annual FOX Nation Patriot Awards, an event that recognizes and honors individuals and organizations for their contributions to patriotism and the American way of life.
In addition to his media career, Pete Hegseth has found success as an author. His books have resonated with conservative readers, leading to New York Times bestsellers:
1. "In the Arena: Good Citizens, a Great Republic, and How One Speech Can Reinvigorate America" (2016): This book explores the power of civic engagement and the importance of active citizenship.
2. "American Crusade: Our Fight to Stay Free" (2020): Hegseth's second book delves into the challenges facing America and the fight to preserve freedom.
3. "Modern Warriors: Real Stories from Real Heroes" (2019): This book profiles American veterans and their remarkable stories of service and sacrifice.
4. "Battle for the American Mind: An Election-Year Guide to the Top Issues Affecting You" (2022): Hegseth's most recent book provides insight into key issues affecting the nation and their impact on American citizens.
Pete Hegseth's personal life is marked by his strong Christian faith and family values. He and his wife, Jenny, live in Middle Tennessee, where they are raising seven children. Their hope is that their children will grow up to love both God and country, reflecting the deep sense of patriotism and devotion that Hegseth embodies.
Pete Hegseth's journey from military service to conservative advocacy, media punditry, and bestselling authorship has been a multifaceted one. His presence on FOX News and FOX Nation allows him to reach millions of viewers, sharing his perspectives on politics, the military, and the American way of life. While not without controversies, Hegseth's impact on conservative discourse in the United States is undeniable, making him a significant figure in the realm of media and politics.