Trump ally Tucker Carlson says president ‘recklessly encouraged’ Capitol riots

‘It was a political protest that got completely out of control’ says Fox News host

James Crump
Friday 08 January 2021 15:33 GMT
Tucker Carlson says Trump 'recklessly encouraged' Capitol riots
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Fox News host and longtime Trump ally, Tucker Carlson has said that the president “recklessly encouraged" his supporters, who went on to riot at the US Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.

A mob of thousands of pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol during the confirmation of electoral college votes on Wednesday, putting a hold to the process to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory for several hours. Five people died and numerous others were injured in the riots.

The House was evacuated as numerous politicians and staff members were forced to barricade themselves in offices to hide from the rioters, some of whom were carrying guns and other weapons.

The rioters breached the Capitol after attending a Donald Trump rally, during which he told the crowd: “We're going to walk down to the Capitol” and adding: “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

Carlson – who has continued to support Mr Trump since his election defeat on 3 November despite his repeated baseless claims of widespread election fraud – said during Tucker Carlson Tonight on Thursday that the president encouraged his supporters.

“What happened yesterday, they’re telling us, wasn’t simply that a political protest got out of hand after the president recklessly encouraged it. That is in fact what happened," he said.

Follow the very latest on the Capitol riots in our live blog.

“But it’s not what they’re saying,” Carlson continued. “Instead they’re calling it domestic terrorism, CNN describes it as an insurrection.”

Carlson also criticised Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer for calling the events “domestic terrorism” and comparing the riots to Pearl Harbour.

Despite appearing to try to minimise the severity of the riots, the Fox News Host then claimed that Mr Trump has reached the end of his “shelf life”, and criticised people’s obsession with the president.

“We've gone from being this big continental country with an enormous span of concerns and interests to a sweaty chat room of 300 million people all of whom are focused on a single man, Donald Trump. That is not healthy no matter how you feel about Trump,” Carlson said on Thursday.

He added: “At some point you've got to wonder about where our country is putting all of its energy. Is any single president, anyone worth all of this time and attention? All politicians whether you agree with them or not come with a shelf life, they are people.

“They don't last forever, none of us do. In Trump's case, the expiration date arrives in 13 days and after that he will not be president.”

Around the same time as Mr Carlson’s comments, The Wall Street Journal, which like Fox News is also owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, called on Mr Trump to resign, in what was a change in tone from the paper that has been more favourable to the president than its rivals.

“If Mr Trump wants to avoid a second impeachment, his best path would be to take personal responsibility and resign,” the Journal’s editorial board wrote on Thursday.

“This would be the cleanest solution since it would immediately turn presidential duties over to Mr Pence,” it continued. “It is best for everyone, himself included, if he goes away quietly,” the board added.

Murdoch-owned media outlets - The Journal, Fox News and the New York Post - have all published favourable coverage of Mr Trump over the last four years, but have reacted differently in recent days following the Capitol riots.

Some Republicans and Democrats have called for Mr Trump to be impeached for the second time for inciting the riots on Wednesday, with just less than two weeks until he is replaced in the White House by Mr Biden.

Speaking after his temporary ban on Twitter was lifted on Thursday, Mr Trump admitted for the first time that it is time for him to move on from the results of November’s presidential election.

“We have just been through an intense election and emotions are high,” Mr Trump said. “But now tempers must be cooled and calm restored. A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan 20.

“My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth orderly and seamless transition of power,” he continued, before adding: “This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”

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