Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Tucker Carlson backs Russia in Ukraine conflict, asks Americans why they hate Putin

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But even with the Ukraine battle and Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Fox News host described the stress in the area as merely “a border dispute” and questioned why Americans ought to despise the Russian president.

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“It may be worth asking yourself, since it is getting pretty serious, what is this really about? Why do I hate Putin so much?” he stated on his Tuesday evening present. “Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him?”

Carlson, who has been accused of being “one of the biggest cheerleaders for Russia” throughout the battle, requested viewers on his top-rated Fox News present a sequence of questions on whether or not Putin had promoted “racial discrimination” in faculties, made fentanyl, tried “to snuff out Christianity” or eaten canines.

“These are fair questions, and the answer to all of them is ‘no.’ Vladimir Putin didn’t do any of that,” he stated. “So, why does permanent Washington hate him so much?”

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A clip of the section, which has been seen on Twitter greater than 2 million occasions as of early Wednesday, was denounced by critics. Among these was Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), one of many staunchest GOP critics of his personal occasion and former president Donald Trump.

“In 35 seconds here, @TuckerCarlson basically said: ‘Putin isn’t your enemy. Your fellow American is,’ ” Kinzinger tweeted. “This is beyond dangerous, to say the least.”

A spokesperson with Fox News didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark early Wednesday.

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Carlson’s feedback come as Ukraine introduced Wednesday that the nation deliberate to declare a state of emergency forward of an anticipated Russian invasion. The 30-day state of emergency, which is topic to approval by parliament, would impose curfews and limit mass gatherings in sure areas of Ukraine “if necessary” to confront elevated Russian aggression, in line with the nation’s National Security and Defense Council chief.

The Fox News host is among the many conservative voices to have praised Putin in current days. Trump described the Russian president on a right-wing radio program Tuesday as “smart,” “savvy” and a “genius” for sending army forces into Ukraine. Trump continued to champion Putin on Wednesday morning on the expense of Biden, who defeated Trump in the 2020 election.

“Putin is playing Biden like a drum,” Trump stated in an announcement issued by his Save America PAC. “It is not a pretty thing to watch!”

Trump’s remarks echoed these of his former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who stated final week that Putin was “very shrewd” and “capable.” In the identical interview in which Pompeo stated he had “enormous respect” for Putin, the Republican slammed Biden for displaying what he stated was “enormous weakness” on the battle.

Biden stated at a Tuesday news briefing that the primary measures introduced towards Russia focused two state-owned banks in addition to Russian residents described by the White House as Kremlin-connected “elites.” The president acknowledged that the battle might result in increased gasoline costs. Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the United States, warned that Americans would really feel the “consequences” of the introduced sanctions.

President Biden on Feb. 22 announced new sanctions against Russia in response to their moves against Ukraine. (The Washington Post)

Americans’ feelings toward Russia became much more partisan after Putin and Russia sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election on behalf of Trump. As The Washington Post’s Philip Bump wrote last December, Democrats were far more likely to see Russia as a threat than were Republicans after the 2016 election. Data from the Pew Research Centers shows that Republican concern about Russian influence decreased following those revelations.

Carlson has told his viewers that there is no reason the United States should assist Ukraine in its fight against Russia, and has recently doubled down on his support of Putin. The Fox News host, who acknowledged that he’s attempting to interview Putin, said this week that it was “not treason, it is not un-American” to support Putin. “It’s the whole point of America,” he said Monday.

The host has been met with bipartisan criticism over his backing of Russia and questioning why Americans don’t like Putin. Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) tweeted last month how his office was “getting calls from folks who say they watch Tucker Carlson and are upset that we’re not siding with Russia in its threats to invade Ukraine, and who want me to support Russia’s ‘reasonable’ positions.” Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and John Cornyn (Tex.) told Politico this month that they disagreed with Carlson and his views on Russia and Ukraine.

“He’s obviously not in a position of being responsible for those decisions,” Cornyn told the outlet. “And we are.”

As tensions continued this week, MSNBC’s Alex Wagner was among the critics to decry Carlson’s remarks.

“One of the biggest cheerleaders for Russia as it threatens to invade a peaceful and sovereign country is the host of the No. 1 show on Fox News,” she stated Monday.

On Tuesday evening, Carlson opened his present by downplaying the battle.

“If you’ve been watching the news, you know that Putin is having a border dispute with a nation called Ukraine,” he said.

After claiming that Americans “now dutifully hate Vladimir Putin,” Carlson framed the conflict between Russia and Ukraine as not being consequential to Americans, despite possible higher gas prices and potential cyberattacks on U.S. businesses. Carlson’s segment featured a chyron that read, “Anything Less Than Hating Putin is Treason.”

More critics weighed in after Tuesday’s present and accused Carlson of being “an instrument of Putin’s war.” Former Republican congressman Joe Walsh, who ran against Trump in the 2020 GOP presidential primary, agreed with Kinzinger about Carlson’s sentiments being “really, really dangerous.”

“Because right here on his show tonight he’s telling his audience that Democrats and our own government are bad, and Putin is good,” he tweeted. “He’s dangerous because millions & millions of Americans are nodding in agreement with him tonight.”

Meanwhile, late-night host Stephen Colbert joked about what the White House’s announced sanctions would mean for one of Putin’s biggest supporters.

“So that means no Russian money can come into the U.S.,” Colbert said. “There goes Tucker Carlson’s sponsors.”

Michael Birnbaum, Shane Harris and Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.

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