Tucker Carlson is pulling Republicans rightwards beyond Trump’s ‘America First’ talk. And his claims that the Capitol insurrection and violent white nationalism are ‘hoaxes’ weaponized by Democrats are going mainstream
As the Republican Party continues to convulse following its loss of the presidency and the violent pro-Trump siege of the Capitol, one voice is beginning to drown out all others: Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
The the top Republicans in Congress, Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, are trying to stop a GOP civil war by oscillating between measured criticism of Trump’s behavior on January 6th and embracing the former president, his base and his fundraising cachet.
But Carlson is going on the offensive, crafting the message that Trump’s base is most open to hearing: that there was “no armed insurrection” and that white supremacy is not an issue in the Republican Party.
Carlson, who wields a big megaphone thanks to one of the highest rated cable news shows, is also a lead player in the resurgent culture wars now dominating right-wing American politics. Shying away from substantive policy debate, Carlson instead goes big on populist outrage, warning, improbably, that “Biden is changing this country faster than any president ever has.” The targets of his vitriol are diverse: from Big Tech ‘censorship’ to attacking a New York Times journalist, and even denigrating pregnant women in the military.
Carlson regularly ties his culture war commentary back to querying the relevance, if not existence, of white supremacy. The ‘connections’ are sometimes dizzying.
After he opined that pregnant women “going to fight our wars” make “a mockery of the U.S. military,” the Pentagon took the unusual step of pushing back publicly, clearly concerned about an uninformed and unwarranted attack on serving U.S. troops.
Carlson wanted the final word. He refocused his attack, accusing Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who has been acting to purge extremists from the military, of skewing the threat assessment to the U.S. based on “wokeness” rather than “winning the next war.”
And what is this Defense Department “wokeness”? Apparently it means taking domestic extremism too seriously, or giving any credit to the “domestic extremist” category at all. He railed against the troops still protecting the Capitol against “extremists” (his quote marks), and then declared that the Biden administration was just tagging as extremist “people who voted for the losing candidate in the last election.”
He accused Secretary Austin of “hyperventilating about white supremacy” while ignoring the big threat: China.
Just five days after Carlson’s Fox News op-ed, a report from the Department for Homeland Security assessed that the most lethal domestic violent extremist threat to America is posed by racially or ethnically motivated extremists, and militias. In other words, white supremacists.