Congressman denounces Tucker Carlson as a ‘pro-Putin shill’ for supposedly backing Russia over US ally Ukraine

Fox opinion host has claimed Russian president is simply shoring up his own borders against Nato

John Bowden
Friday 04 February 2022 01:14 GMT
Democratic congressman attacks Fox's 'pro-Putin' Tucker Carlson

A second Democratic congressman is accusing Fox News’s Tucker Carlson of being in bed with Russia as the tensions between Washington and Moscow over the amassing of military forces near Russia’s border with Ukraine continues.

Rep Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts made a jab at Carlson on Thursday at a press conference after meeting with fellow House Democrats on the issue of Ukraine, where he told reporters that his party was unified in support for what he called the Biden administration’s “effective and strong diplomacy” on the issue.

That unity, he said, was “in contrast to what we’re hearing from the likes of Tucker Carlson who is acting basically as a pro-Putin shill and who is compounding the tremendous damage done to the US by Trump’s Helsinki performance in 2018”, when the former president met with Vladimir Putin and was sharply criticised for not pressing Mr Putin on the disinformation campaign that sought to undermine Mr Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.

His remarks followed similar comments from Congressman Tom Malinowski of New Jersey, who asserted that his office was being flooded with calls from viewers of Carlson taking the side of Russia as it claims its government has no plans to invade Ukraine.

“My office is now 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," Mr Malinowski tweeted last month.

The State Department and White House have repeatedly accused Russian officials of plotting operations that would give the country a plausible excuse for an invasion of Ukraine, a charge the Russian government sharply denies. The blame aimed at Fox News comes as the Biden administration is facing more and more pressure from the media to present proof of those claims.

That pressure resulted in an explosive confrontation on Thursday between a reporter for The Associated Press during a briefing hosted by State Department press secretary Ned Price, wherein Mr Price was repeatedly pressed (and refused to produce) tangible evidence of such plots despite insisting such evidence had been “declassified”.

All of that speculation is compounded by public statements from Ukraine’s government as well. Representatives of President Volodymyr Zelensky have warned the US against claiming that a Russian invasion is “imminent” or a certainty in the coming weeks, and have reportedly expressed those concerns in private to US officials as well.

Carlson has never publicly expressed support for a Russian invasion of Ukraine. He has stated several times that a US war with Russia over the issue of an invasion of Ukraine, real or potential, would be a mistake and defended Russian troop movements near the country’s border with Ukraine and in neighbouring Moscow-aligned Belarus as efforts by Russia to guard against Nato, the military alliance the Fox host has contended largely exists to “torment” Russia and its leaders.

“So at this point, Nato exists primarily to torment Vladimir Putin who, whatever his many faults, has no intention of invading Western Europe. Vladimir Putin does not want Belgium. He just wants to keep his western borders secure,” said Carlson in December.

He also responded to previous comments made by Mr Malinowski and other criticism from White House press secretary Jen Psaki in an interview with Axios, claiming that he “could care less if they call me a pawn of Putin”.

“It’s too stupid I don’t speak Russian. I’ve never been to Russia. I’m not that interested in Russia. All I care about is the fortunes of the United States because I have four children who live here,” he told the news outlet.

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