Tucker Carlson had some choice words Monday night for left-leaning critics, who call him a traitor for supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin and attempting to secure an interview with him.
“We won’t be quiet, and not just because this is a news organization,” the conservative political commentator said during Monday’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “Because we’re Americans, and we can talk to anyone we want. We can have any opinion we feel like having. That is not treason, it is not un-American. It’s the whole point of America.”
Carlson has taken a hit in the media and online recently with those who have been critical of his view of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. MSNBC’s Alex Wagner, who sat in for Chris Hayes on Monday, was among the critics, saying, “Right now, one of the biggest cheerleaders for Russia is also the host of the number one show on Fox News.”
After Wagner showed numerous clips of Carlson saying things like, “Why shouldn’t I root for Russian? Because I am!” and “Whatever (Putin’s) many faults, (he) has no intention of invading Western Europe.”
“That kind of perspective has created tension for Tucker Carlson in some parts of the Republican establishment, with certain Republican senators supposedly pushing back against Carlson’s support for Russia,” Wagner said.
It was Democratic Rep. David Cicilline from Rhode Island’s interview with former RNC Chairman Michael Steele on MSNBC, however, that set Carlson off.
In a clip of an MSNBC segment Monday, Steele asked Cicilline, “What does it say that you have people like Tucker Carlson and Fox News drumming up support for Putin?”
“Look, it’s not frustrating — it’s sickening. It’s un-American,” Cicilline answered. “It’s a continuation of the propaganda machine of Fox, so it’s not surprising, but it’s really, really disappointing.”
Carlson took offense to Cicilline’s comment, saying America has “no legal or moral obligation to defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity,” claiming that Ukraine isn’t even a democracy.
(Fact check: Ukraine is what you might call an aspiring democracy. In 1990, its newly formed parliament adopted a Declaration of State Sovereignty that established the principles of independence and democracy. The CIA World Factbook writes: “Ukraine has made progress on reforms designed to make the country prosperous, democratic, and transparent, including creation of a national anti-corruption agency, overhaul of the banking sector, establishment of a transparent VAT refund system, and increased transparency in government procurement.”)
Carlson said that, yes, he reached out to Putin for an interview, but pointed out that NBC has, in fact, interviewed the Russian president in the past.
“That was completely fine,” Carlson said. “But our efforts to do the same are not allowed. They’re quote, ‘un-American.’”
Last July, Carlson pushed the assertion that the National Security Agency was spying on him to gather research on “opposition journalists” like himself for the Biden Administration. The NSA has denied Tucker’s accusations, but Carlson resurfaced the allegation Monday.
“We won’t be quiet, and not just because this is a news organization,” he said Monday. “Because we’re Americans and we can talk to anyone we want. We can have any opinion we feel like having. That is not treason; it is not un-American. It’s the whole point of America. It is our Bill of Rights, distilled.”
“So today,” he continued, “we sent another letter to Vladimir Putin asking for an interview. We hope we get it. We also sent a message to the president of Ukraine. We would like that interview too. too. Now, neither one of these men runs a democracy by traditional American standards. Both of them are tyrants. But they’re in the news and we would love to talk to them. An interview is hardly an endorsement.”
You can check out Tucker Carlson’s comments in full in the link below.