Conservative Fox News star Tucker Carlson appeared to go rogue in a recent interview, attacking US President Donald Trump for failed campaign promises and a general incapability as a leader.
Whereas liberal claims of Trump’s incompetence and lack of understanding are nearly inescapable in much of the media, the Fox News star’s recent comments came as a surprise to many, given his network’s overwhelming support for the president. Despite his own conservative convictions and previous support, Carlson did not pull any punches when asked about Trump by an interviewer from Switzerland’s Die Weltwoche.
When asked if Trump had met his campaign promises, Carlson responded with a resounding no:
His chief promises were that he would build the wall, de-fund planned parenthood, and repeal Obamacare, and he hasn’t done any of those things.
Trump has no fundamental understanding of how “the system” works, Carlson argued: “He knows very little about the legislative process, hasn’t learned anything, hasn’t surrounded himself with people that can get it done.”
Carlson was surprisingly unreserved on the topic given that his recent book “Ship of Fools”, mostly avoids criticizing the president directly, focusing its attacks on Trump’s liberal critics.
Carlson addressed a question about Trump’s “populism” in a way surprisingly reminiscent of the anti-Trump forces his book criticizes, describing the anti-elite political phenomena as what happens “when your leaders fail” opening the door for politicians like Trump to take power. The problem, in Carlson’s perspective, is not that America has a ‘ruling class’ (of which Carlson himself never shys from claiming membership) but the fact that this class has been disconnected from the interests and perspectives of ordinary people; Trump is merely a “symptom” of this broader issue.
Carlson expressed skepticism regarding the prospect of a revolution in the United States, joking that “Testosterone levels are so low and marijuana use is so high” that Americans are as incapable as Trump in effecting major change. Carlson instead was hopeful about the prospect of the “slow self-segregation” of states and races polarized in contemporary America.
While Carlson was certainly more pointed with his words about Trump that usual, this is not the first time the Fox star has criticized the president: he described Trump’s attack on Jeff Sessions after his recusal a “useless self-destructive act”. His book also suggests that Trump’s election had much more to do with middle-class rage than the president himself.
Not all of Carlson’s comments about the President were totally negative, however. He did say that Trump had played an important role in creating a national conversation about “what actually matters”, such as the United States’ critical immigration problems, and why NATO still exists 27 years after the end of the Soviet Union.
Carlson’s show boasts some of the highest ratings on Fox, and pulls an average audience of nearly 3 million viewers, according to Forbes. He has often been criticized for his support of Trump and racial politics. His views on immigration even led to a siege on his house by an antifa mob last month.