Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday hit back at senators from both parties who’ve condemned his attempts to whitewash the January 6 attack on the Capitol with selectively-released video excerpts of Capitol surveillance footage from the day of the attack.
Earlier in the day, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he “aligned himself” with a blistering statement from US Capitol Police chief J Thomas Manger, who said Carlson’s description of the Capitol attack as a peaceful protest that had been weaponised by Democrats against former president Donald Trump’s supporters had been drawn from “offensive and misleading conclusions” about the siege, the worst attack on the US legislature since British troops under Major General Robert Ross set it ablaze in 1814.
“It was a mistake, in my view, for Fox News to depict this in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks,” Mr McConnell told reporters.
Other GOP senators echoed Mr McConnell’s condemnation of Carlson’s Monday show, including North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, who described the Fox host’s take on January 6 as “bulls***”.
Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota told reporters: “I think that breaking through glass windows and doors to get into the United States Capitol against the borders of police is a crime.”
“I think particularly when you come into the chambers, when you start opening the members’ desks, when you stand up in their balcony — to somehow put that in the same category as, you know, permitted peaceful protest is just a lie,” he added.
On Tuesday, Carlson suggested that the GOP senators’ condemnations indicated disloyalty to the Republican Party at the outset of his show.
“We should also tell that you Chuck Schumer, Senate majority leader, was joined in this outrage by the Senate minority leader and that would be a Republican, Mitch McConnell. And they were joined by a cascade of other Republicans, Thom Tillis from North Carolina. Mitt Romney from Utah all sharing the same outrage. And from this, we learn two things: One, you’re getting close to what they really care about. And you have to ask yourself why? Why is it so important that they would degrade themselves by telling such obvious lies and calling for censorship?” he said.
“The second thing we learned from this is that they’re on the same side … so it’s actually not about left and right. It’s not about Republican and Democrat. Here you have people with shared interests. The open borders people … the people like Mitch McConnell who are living in splendour on Chinese money. The people that underneath it all have everything in common are all aligned against everyone else and that would include almost all news organizations in this country as well”.
But Carlson’s show didn’t include much in the way of new information aside from his reaction to the criticism from his own party.
Instead, he played an interview with Tarik Khalid Johnson, a former Capitol Police officer who was disciplined after the riot for donning a Make American Great Again hat as he moved through throngs of protesters.
Mr Johnson, who has since resigned from the department, has said he put on the red hat to get people in the riotous mob to help him rescue a group of officers who were trapped during the attack.
He told Carlson the department’s leadership failed to get needed information about the possibility of violence to the officers on the ground.
“We should have been better prepared that day and we could have been better prepared that day if the information was dissim nateed like it was supposed to be – disseminated like it was supposed to be,” he said.
He repeated an explanation for his use of the Maga hat as a tool of self-preservation.
“I figured if I had the hat on, it would be easier for me to navigate my way through the crowd. It was basically self-preservation and deescalation and I needed to get up those steps. I couldn’t say what would have happened walking through that crowd without it,” he said.
Both he and Carlson blamed a former USCP official, Yogananda Pittman, for the failures that day, and Carlson suggested Ms Pittman’s acceptance of a job at the University of California at Berkeley was a reward from former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
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