Fox News host Tucker Carlson offered a warning on Monday about the repercussions of removing Russian President Vladimir Putin from power, and suggested that Islamic extremists would somehow get hold of the country’s nuclear weapons and use them on Americans.
“So, Russia has a large and restive population of Islamic extremists. Do we think it’s possible that with no one running the country ― because of course we have no chosen successor to Putin ― is it possible, if we did that, that one of those 6,000 nuclear weapons might wind up in the hands of some anti-American terror group and be used against our civilian population here?” he asked. “A nuclear weapon! Well, it’s not just possible, it’s likely.”
Carlson has made a habit of defending Putin, even after the Russian dictator made moves to invade Ukraine. Since the war began, Carlson has become a favorite for rebroadcasts on Russian propaganda channels for blaming President Joe Biden for the invasion, parroting Kremlin propaganda and spreading conspiracy theories justifying the invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier this month, a Mother Jones report revealed a leaked Kremlin memo that directed Russian state-sponsored media to use Carlson’s broadcasts “as much as possible” due to his criticism of the U.S. and NATO and defense of Putin.
Carlson’s scaremongering comments were in response to a speech Biden made in Poland, where he said of Putin: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”
White House officials promptly clarified that the remark did not reflect a change in U.S. policy and that Biden was not advocating for regime change in Russia, but that Putin “cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region.”
Other than Carlson, the off-script remark was also blasted by foreign policy experts who warned it was dangerous and would play into Putin’s narrative.
Should Putin lose his grasp on power in Russia, or be assassinated, he would likely be succeeded by another member of the Kremlin elite.
Watch the excerpt from Monday’s broadcast below via Media Matters:
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.