Donald Trump and the Big Tucker Carlson Interview: The interview the former president gave with the former Fox News host, which will “air” opposite the first GOP presidential debate, was taped several days earlier.
The Big Donald Trump Interview
There are a lot of weird dynamics in play, with the decision by former President Donald Trump to appear for an interview with Tucker Carlson at the same time as the first presidential debate of the 2024 cycle on Wednesday night.
It’s Trump bucking the Republican Party, and openly stating that he doesn’t think there’s anything in it for him to debate rivals that he’s leading in the polls by huge margins. Trump continues to have a contentious relationship with Fox News, the network that is hosting the debate, even though he has appeared for occasional interviews there this year.
There’s also Trump ditching Fox in favor of Carlson, who Fox News fired earlier this year after the network agreed to pay a $787 million settlement to Dominion Voting Systems for knowingly spreading lies that the voting machine firm had participated in election fraud. As part of that lawsuit, text messages surfaced in which Carlson said of Trump “I hate him passionately.”
And the interview will reportedly be hosted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, which began streaming Carlson’s show earlier this year, after his Fox exit. The social network, of course, was Trump’s preferred method of mass communication for many years, before he was banned shortly after January 6.
While Elon Musk reinstated Trump’s account after he bought the platform last year, Trump has not resumed posting there, although his appearance with Carlson will represent a type of return to the platform. And the stream will represent a test of X’s functionality for a high-profile video presentation. The company’s tech infamously failed when it hosted a live launch event this summer for Trump’s opponent Ron DeSantis.
A report by The Hill stated that rather than a live event, the Trump interview with Carlson was taped “several days ago,” although it will begin streaming at the same time the debate begins, at 9 p.m. Eastern time. This would appear to make technical glitches less likely, while also allowing edits. Trump will need to be careful, in this interview and other public appearances, to avoid saying anything too controversial, however, the Carlson interview was taped prior to the bail conditions being set.
“MY INTERVIEW WITH TUCKER CARLSON WILL BE AIRED TONIGHT AT 9:00 P.M. “SPARKS WILL FLY.” ENJOY!,” Trump said on Truth Social Wednesday, although he did not mention the name of the rival social network or tell his followers how they can watch the interview.
The Washington Post also previewed the Trump/Tucker interview. It revealed that the interview took place last Wednesday at Trump’s club in Bedminster, N.J. Carlson had been scheduled to go overseas this week to interview Hungarian President Viktor Orban and Serbian leader Aleksandar Vucic, which was part of why the interview took place last week.
“Before the cameras rolled, the former president told the former Fox News host that he had the room built by Amish workers years ago, according to two people familiar with the conversation. The surroundings lacked the gilded appearance of many of Trump’s properties, and their wooden decor matched Carlson’s preferred rustic aesthetic,” the Post said.
The Post also reported that Trump had recorded the interview even before officially announcing that he would not be appearing at the debate. It’s not clear what Trump will be doing Wednesday night.
Trump had also “told advisers he didn’t want Carlson’s interview to appear on X because it is a competitor to Truth Social,” but Carlson had convinced him that Truth Social lacked the reach for this type of interview.
There will likely be comparisons made between how many streams the interview gets on X and how many viewers the debate earns on Fox, which many people did after Carlson began streaming his show. But views of an online video and TV ratings are far from an apples-to-apples comparison.
Author 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. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.
This has been updated since publication.