On one hand, it seems that Tucker Carlson might be rallying behind Donald Trump after he hosted the Family Leader summit in Iowa on Friday.
The ousted Fox News host eviscerated Trump’s opponents, often using the lowest common denominator arguments, mostly regarding Ukraine.
But is there a chance he’s trying to get rid of Trump, whom he has called “demonic?”
Carlson was particularly brutal to former Vice President Mike Pence, but he was fairly rough on South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott as well. But neither Pence nor Scott stands much of a chance of being the nominee. That goes tenfold for former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who proved why he had no business in the race.
After his whirlwind destruction, like a tornado laying waste, Carlson did an interview effectively praising Trump for his Ukraine policy.
“Trump is the only person with stature in the Republican Party who is saying ‘wait a second why are we supporting an endless war in Ukraine?,’” Tucker said, later adding, “Trump is right and everybody else is wrong on that question.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who previously walked back his view that the war as a “territorial dispute,” on Friday seemed to bob and weave trying to appease Tucker, and called for European allies to provide more assistance. Then started talking about China.
The thing is, Tucker allowed DeSantis to dodge.
As we know, what Tucker says publicly about Trump is profoundly different from what he says privately about Trump, based on the text messages that the Dominion voting machine lawsuit produced.
Tucker Carlson wrote on Jan. 4, 2021, “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait,” which, of course, turned out to be wrong. Carlson followed, texting, “I hate him passionately.”
Three days later – one day after the Capitol Riot – Carlson wrote, “Trump has two weeks left. Once he’s out, he becomes incalculably less powerful, even in the minds of his supporters.” Carlson again was wrong. He added, “He’s a demonic force, a destroyer. But he’s not going to destroy us. I’ve been thinking about this every day for four years.”
Trump, of course, was a notable no-show at the Iowa event. It’s tough to speculate if the former president would have been roughed up in an interview. But Tucker certainly has a constituency he must appease as well.
So, Tucker could be playing a subtle game.
It’s long been known that Trump benefits from a crowded GOP primary field
While the Carlson Twitter show has been fading, the Iowa event gave him new influence. Most importantly, he took a wrecking ball to some of the campaigns.
That means in the coming weeks, the fundraising for some of the candidates in the overcrowded GOP field will dry up and at least some will drop out before voting starts in January.
If the field is winnowed down to the most likely candidate to take on Trump – DeSantis, and perhaps one or two others that could step in – it would be far more likely that Tucker Carlson could achieve the desire to be able to ignore what he has called a “demonic force.”
Barbara Joanna Lucas is a writer and researcher in Northern Virginia. She has been a healthcare professional, political blogger, is a proud dog mom, and news junkie. Follow her on Twitter @BasiaJL.