Even Republicans Are Bashing Tucker Carlson for Lying About Jan. 6 Violence

tucker carlson conservatives - Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
tucker carlson conservatives - Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy last month gave Tucker Carlson exclusive access to tens of thousands of hours of surveillance footage from the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. The Fox News host cherry-picked clips as part of an effort to cast the rioters as “orderly and meek” sightseers, as he put it Monday night. McCarthy and Carlson’s shameless campaign to rewrite history has since been criticized throughout Congress, including by several prominent Republicans.

“I think it’s bullshit,” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) told reporters on Tuesday. “I was here. I was down there and I saw maybe a few tourists, a few people who got caught up in things. But when you see police barricades breached, when you see police officers assaulted, all of that … if you were just a tourist you should’ve probably lined up at the visitors’ center and came in on an orderly basis.”

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“I think that breaking through glass windows and doors to get into the United States Capitol against the borders of police is a crime,” added Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). “I think particularly when you come into the chambers, when you start opening the members’ desks, when you stand up in their balcony — to somehow put that in the same category as, you know, permitted peaceful protest is just a lie.”

“It was an attack on the Capitol,” said Sen. Jon Thune (R-S.D.). “What happened that day shouldn’t have happened,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). “There was violence on Jan. 6,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.). “You can’t hide the truth by selectively picking a few minutes out of tapes and saying this is what went on,” added Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah). “It’s so absurd. It’s nonsense.”

“It was a mistake in my view for Fox News to depict this in a way that is completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official at the Capitol thinks,” said. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), referring to a memo released by Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger noting that Carlson’s segment was “filled with offensive and misleading conclusions.”

Democrats were also outraged. “Last night, millions of Americans tuned into one of the most shameful hours we have ever seen on cable television,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said from the chamber floor. “With contempt for the facts, disregard of the risks, and knowing full well he was lying — lying — to his audience, Fox News host Tucker Carlson ran a lengthy segment last night arguing the Jan. 6 Capitol attack was not a violent insurrection. By diving deep into the waters of conspiracy and cherry-picking from thousands of hours of security footage, Mr. Carlson told the bold-faced lie, which we all saw with our own eyes, was somehow not an attack at all.”

The frontrunner to land the Republican nomination for president in 2024, however, was thrilled with Carlson’s conspiracy theorizing. “LET THE JANUARY 6 PRISONERS GO,” Donald Trump wrote on Truth Social. “THEY WERE CONVICTED, OR ARE AWAITING TRIAL, BASED ON A GIANT LIE, A RADICAL LEFT CON JOB. THANK YOU TO TUCKER CARLSON AND SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE KEVIN McCARTHY FOR WHAT YOU BOTH HAVE DONE. NEW VIDEO FOOTAGE IS IRREFUTABLE!!!”

The former president — who has made clear he supports the attack while suggesting he will pardon the perpetrators if he wins reelection — has also shared clips of the segment and implored his followers to tune in again Tuesday night, when Carlson is expected to release more footage. “Tucker Carlson a MUST WATCH tonight,” Trump wrote. “Releasing more VIDEO which was ‘HIDDEN BY THE CROOKED J 6 UNSELECT COMMITTEE.’ They should be prosecuted for their lies and, quite frankly, TREASON!”

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