Tucker Carlson interviewed President Trump on Fox News on Wednesday night. Carlson got some fresh reaction from the president about Tuesday night’s Rachel Maddow tax-return scoop: Trump has “no idea where they got it, but it’s illegal. … They’re not supposed to have it and it’s not supposed to be leaked, and it’s certainly not an embarrassing tax return at all. … It’s an illegal thing they’ve been doing. … I think it’s a disgrace.” On the subject of the president’s allegation that President Obama had him wiretapped, Trump also teased Carlson, and America, with this: “I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.”
Trump also said, “The Apprentice made NBC a lot of money and was one of the most popular shows of all time. I was very good to NBC, and they are despicable.”
Carlson, who had spoken to Trump in Detroit earlier in the day, asked a number of questions that any sensible host would. He asked Trump (I’m paraphrasing the wording): Why does your health care plan give a tax cut to those making more than $250,000, but far less of a tax reduction for the majority of people who elected you president? And: Why did you tweet about Obama wiretapping you before going to your intelligence agencies and gathering evidence? And: You don’t agree with Paul Ryan’s economic or social policies, so do you think you can work with him on this health care reform?
As I said, all solid questions. But what did Carlson get for answers? Little more than air, gassy air, and campaign punchlines. About his Trumpcare plan, the president zeroed in on the Democrats: “They hate the Republicans so badly that they can’t even see straight.” About the wiretap tweet before investigating its truth: “I don’t do anything that will violate the strength of any [intelligence] agency.” Huh? But why tweet about it at all? Carlson persisted. “Well, because The New York Times wrote about it … by the way, that was in quotes, ‘wiretap,’ but nobody ever talks about that.” No, nobody except the entire American media, ever since White House press secretary Sean Spicer first advanced the “he-was-only-air-quoting” interpretation.
It must have been frustrating for Carlson to have to sit there and listen to the same guff we’ve all heard, over and over, so many times:
- “It’s called ‘Make America Great Again.’ It’s why I got elected.”
- “Obamacare is a disaster. It’s a disaster.” Trump said those two sentences three times each during 30 minutes.
- “I love reporters — some of the finest people I know. I’m talking about the fake news, the fake media. If I don’t [use Twitter], I won’t get my word out, because they don’t report it fairly.”
Carlson wasn’t fishing for compliments, but Trump handed his network one anyway: “This morning on Fox & Friends — I like that group of three people — there was a man on there that said, ‘Trump is the greatest president there’s ever been, there’s never been anyone like him.’” Who was this man? Trump did not say.
Carlson reserved his most incendiary question for last this night, when he moved into Steve King, “other-people’s-babies” territory: “Do you think it’s possible to move a Muslim population into the West and successfully integrate them into Western culture?” Trump’s answer? I swear, this was it: “It’s not easy.”
It’s not easy trying to get a coherent answer out him, either. Good try, Tucker.
Tucker Carlson Tonight airs weeknights at 9 p.m. on Fox News.