Tucker Carlson Faces the Biggest Challenge of His Career: Defending Trump
GQ profiles the Fox News host who has become one of the president's staunchest supporters.
Insults, interruptions, and an incessant insistence that he is right: Tucker Carlson has quickly made a name for himself on Fox News as a pugnacious pundit whose on-air style takes after the politician he defends the most: President Donald Trump.
To learn more about this fixture of political TV theater, GQ sat down with Carlson to learn how he has dealt with the crises brought upon the Republican Party by Trump’s presidency.
According to GQ, Carlson demonstrated just how far he’ll go to avoid criticizing Trump after a white supremacist demonstration turned violent and killed a counter-protestor in Charlottesville, Virginia over the summer. When Trump’s subsequently called out “violence on both sides”—comments that drew broad, bipartisan condemnation—Carlson quickly changed the topic. He also tried to explain away Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s slave owning as widely accepted at the time while noting that some of our nation’s Founders, like Thomas Jefferson, also owned slaves. But even the conservative publisher Bill Kristol, the founding editor of The Weekly Standard, criticized this relativistic logic by posting a screenshot of Carlson along with text that read: “They started by rationalizing Trump. They ended by rationalizing slavery.”
They started by rationalizing Trump. They ended by rationalizing slavery. https://t.co/1BYhLF9YQY
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 16, 2017
But GQ says that Carlson has a more charming side behind the “takedown artist.” Carlson willingly admits that he had a privileged upbringing, which allows him a “uniquely qualified take on the ‘elites.’” This viewpoint echoes Trump’s own broader, 2016 campaign message: he has thrived playing the insider’s game, so he knows how to deal with it.
Carlson is very loyal to the people that he works with, GQ writes. Though he says he has few rules, “don’t criticize the boss” is one of them. That dynamic applies to his own relationship with his network as well. He claims he stays well-informed, that is “unless it doesn’t serve him,” so he has conveniently avoided any discussion of the ongoing sexual harassment scandals at Fox News. Likewise, when asked about Sean Hannity’s promotion of a wild conspiracy theory about the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich, Carlson responded: “If I attack Hannity for being a right-winger, I would be adding my voice to a chorus. I’d rather express opinions that aren’t being expressed elsewhere.”
You can read the whole profile, “Tucker Carlson Is Sorry for Being Mean,” in GQ.
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