Not much “hate” in Tucker Carlson’s Donald Trump interview: Despite the release of text messages earlier this spring stating that he “hates” former President Donald Trump, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson hosted Trump for a friendly interview on Tuesday night.
Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump: The Interview
Earlier this year, it was reported that Fox News had issued a “soft ban” on Donald Trump appearing on the network.
Between his announcement for president last November, and an appearance with Sean Hannity in late March, Trump was not interviewed on Fox News at all, in what was seen as part of a company-wide pivot by Rupert Murdoch’s media properties against a Trump restoration.
In early March, text messages released as part of the Dominion Voting System lawsuit against Fox News showed that star Fox host Tucker Carlson had said in early 2021 of Trump that “I hate him passionately” and “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights.”
While the texts were written when Trump was flailing post-election and refusing to concede, Carlson had also written to a colleague that “that’s the last four years. We’re all pretending we’ve got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it’s been is too tough to digest. But come on. There isn’t really an upside to Trump.” Even more embarrassing for Carlson, the texts surfaced the same week he began broadcasting alternative footage from the January 6 insurrection, which he falsely claimed exonerated the rioters.
Trump and Carlson: BFF Again?
The former president is famous for holding grudges, especially toward members of the media who he sees as his enemies. But Trump agreed to appear for a mostly friendly interview on Carlson’s show Tuesday, and it appears those earlier controversies are being treated as water under the bridge by the former president.
In an introduction, Carlson declared that “For a man who is caricatured as an extremist, we think you’ll find what he has to say moderate, sensible, and wise.”
In what was billed as Trump’s first interview since his arraignment in New York a week earlier, Trump described what it was like for him at his arraignment.
“When I went to the courthouse — which is also a prison, in a sense — they signed me in and I’ll tell you, people were crying. People that work there, professionally work there, that have no problems putting in murderers and they see everybody- it’s a tough, tough place. And they were actually crying.”
Trump Won’t Back Down
Trump also promised that, regardless of the status of the cases against him, he will not drop out of the presidential race. He referred to the Manhattan prosecution as “the old Soviet process.”
Trump has very frequently claimed over the years, usually with dubious accuracy, about people “crying” around him, often “big,” “strong,” or “tough” men, who call him “sir” and thank him for things he has done. None of the videos that emerged from Trump’s court appearance last Tuesday showed any court personnel in tears.
“Think of it, Tucker. I’ve been through seven years of investigations,” Trump said of the long-running investigations into his various actions. “Think of this: So you have all of these millions and millions of pages, and they get you on a nondisclosure agreement.”
Rolling Stone described Carlson as “ a passenger to his own interview,” an interview that was “dominated by Trump’s virtually unchecked rantings.” These included praise of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and concerns about “nuclear warming,” as opposed to global warming.
“Carlson sat silent as Trump rambled and ranted his way through the sit-down, making a number of eyebrow-raising comments on a host of topics that were never challenged by the right-wing talk host,” CNN said in their analysis of the interview. “Carlson made no effort to press the disgraced president on any of the issues that an actual news anchor would.”
Expertise and Experience:
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.