Trying to downplay the events of that day, Mr Carlson said that the rioters were just “a mob of older people from unfashionable zip codes” who managed to get to DC “probably by bus”.
Speaking with mocking derision, Mr Carlson opened his Tuesday night show with: “Today is the three-month anniversary of January 6th. For those who aren’t good with dates or don’t have calendars, this is the day we pause to remember the White supremacist ‘QAnon insurrection’ that came so very close to toppling our government and ending this democracy forever. You saw what happened. It was carried live on television, every gruesome moment.”
Mr Carlson then proceeded to try to rewrite history, as a violent mob who assaulted law enforcement officials became just a group of people who “wandered freely through the Capitol like it was their building or something. They didn’t have guns, but a lot of them had extremely dangerous ideas”.
Failing to mention that Trump supporters erected gallows outside the building, chanted “Hang Mike Pence” and “Where’s Nancy?” referring to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr Carlson instead sarcastically noted: “They talked about the Constitution, and something called ‘their rights’. Some of them made openly seditious claims. They insisted, for example, that the last election was not entirely fair. The whole thing was terrifying. And then, as you’ve been told so often, they committed unspeakable violence.”
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The Fox News host also defended Eric Munchel, the man prosecutors say stormed the Capitol in tactical gear and carrying zip ties, which are often used by law enforcement as handcuffs during mass arrests. Mr Munchel’s mother, Lisa Eisenhart, was also arrested for allegedly storming the Capitol.
Mr Carlson slammed the decision by a judge to hold the mother and son in custody until their trial because they were thought to be dangerous. That decision was overturned by another judge and they have been under house arrest since last week, according to Business Insider.
“Neither Lisa Eisenhart or her son damaged any property in the Capitol or committed any violence. They just walked into what we used to refer to as ‘The People’s House,’” Carlson argued.
He added: “And yet somehow, Joe Biden’s Justice Department convinced a federal judge that Lisa Eisenhart was quote ‘a threat to our Republic’ and her son was a ‘would-be martyr.’ Keep in mind, these are people whose crime was trespassing in the Capitol. We’re not endorsing that, but some perspective please.”
Mr Munchel and Ms Eisenhart have been charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on the Capitol grounds, conspiracy, and civil disorder. They both deny the charges.
Prosecutors allege that they wore bulletproof vests, that Mr Munchel carried a stun gun, and that they stashed weapons in a bag outside the building before entering, the Associated Press reported.
Critics were quick to slam Mr Carlson for spinning the narrative in favour of right-wing extremists.
Ahmed Baba tweeted that “Tucker Carlson opened up his show with a full-throated defence of the insurrectionists”.
He added that “Fox News is airing undemocratic gaslighting garbage”.
Former senior communications advisor and speechwriter for Senator Ted Cruz, Amanda Carpenter, tweeted: “The goal is clearly to diminish what happened. Bigly.”
Cartoonist Tom Tomorrow wrote: “It is wild that Tucker’s really trying to rewrite the chaos and violence we all watched live on TV as [no big deal].”
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