For years, far-right Fox News host Tucker Carlson has promoted Russian President Vladimir Putin. As far back as 2019, Carlson said that he was rooting for Russia. As Putin amassed more and more Russian troops at the Ukrainian border, Carlson only doubled down on this stance, lamenting that Americans are supposedly expected to hate Putin and saying Ukraine wasn't a legitimate country, but rather a "client state." His pro-Putin diatribes have been aired on Russian state television to boost support for the authoritarian leader's aggression.
But after Putin invaded Ukraine, the Fox host adopted a markedly different tone, claiming Americans should be outraged at Putin's violence toward the fledgling Democratic nation that broke away from the U.S.S.R. in 1991.
In his most recent broadcast, Carlson admitted that he and his team were "wrong" to dismiss Putin's aggression toward Ukraine ahead of the invasion, but Vice President Kamala Harris.
Tucker says he was wrong about Ukraine and blames Biden and Harris for him being wrong pic.twitter.com/Eal5p8hdMu
— Acyn (@Acyn) March 4, 2022
Commenting on Russian missile fire at Ukraine's largest nuclear power plant, Carlson said:
"We've been taken by surprise by the whole thing. We're not the only ones who were, but we're willing to admit it. The only thing more embarrassing than being wrong in your estimates is pretending that you weren't. So why didn't we see this coming, this total loss of control? Well because we assumed that if things were dire, serious people would be involved in fixing them, but we looked up and we saw Kamala Harris involved, and that reassured us."
Carlson claimed that Harris' involvement in the Munich Security Conference last month an indication that there was no serious threat to Ukraine from Russia, because—according to Tucker—her job "is to trot down to the Blue Room periodically to greet delegations of TikTok influencers or to cut occasional PSAs for the Children's Dental Health Awareness month, which is in February, so we assumed she'd be working on that right now."
"But averting war with Russia, saving the civilized world? C'mon. That's absolutely not Kamala Harris' job. That was our assumption, but, as noted, we were wrong. Why were we wrong? Well, we spend a lot of time watching Kamala Harris. ... We didn't underestimate Vladimir Putin, we underestimated Joe Biden."
In reality, it's Tucker Carlson who shouldn't be taken seriously, according to Fox News' own lawyers, who fended off a lawsuit against the network back in 2020. Dismissing the lawsuit, the judge decided Fox lawyers convincingly argued that "Given Mr. Carlson's reputation, any reasonable viewer 'arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism' about the statements he makes."
It's unclear why Carlson thinks a speech at the Munich Security Conference, where Russia had no delegation this year, was an avenue to direct negotiations that would've averted war. It's also unclear why he thinks Harris is incapable of conducting such talks and why his personal opinion of her capabilities has such an influence on his so-called reporting.
What's indisputable is that, ahead of the invasion, both Harris and Biden repeatedly warned of the imminent threat Russia posed to Ukraine.
At the very conference Carlson presumed was unserious because the Vice President was speaking there, Harris said:
“Russia will plead ignorance and innocence. It will create false pretexts for invasion, and it will amass troop and firepower in plain sight. ... Russia continues to claim it is ready for talks while, at the same time, it narrows the avenues for diplomacy."
She then vowed that Russia would face severe economic sanctions if it were to invade—a vow that the administration made good on.
What's more, Biden repeatedly warned—as early as a month before the invasion—that Putin would move to invade Ukraine in February.
It was Tucker who wasn't listening, and who was actively undermining the warnings of Biden, Harris, and a number of diplomats. Now, he's blaming them for his own piss-poor judgment and unwillingness to listen.
People aren't having it.
“I licked Putin’s boots and that’s your fault, Biden.” - Tucker Carlson https://t.co/EoGALq8NED
— Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) March 4, 2022
This is both horrendous and buffoonish. And behind the idiotic snark is a confession from Carlson that he is an unserious person with no judgement. But he thinks this is clever. https://t.co/wMpSjSoRme
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) March 4, 2022
I’m pretty sure Biden and Harris aren’t responsible for the many times Tucker gleefully asserted he was rooting for Russia and didn’t care about Ukraine. https://t.co/2S1fgJKFuB
— Sarah Longwell (@SarahLongwell25) March 4, 2022
Biden literally announced every single thing Putin was doing. Everything. https://t.co/wPBHJoTGpr
— Karoli 🇺🇦 (@Karoli) March 4, 2022
First they came for Tucker Carlson and I said,..............................He's right over there. https://t.co/s1pg5D6znB
— Alex Cole (@acnewsitics) March 4, 2022
This just shows how little respect Tucker had for his viewers.
He's now pretending he wasn't taking the threat of Russia's war seriously because of Kamala, which appeals to his racist base.
But the fact is he was openly advocating on Putin's behalf just like a week ago! https://t.co/Tl7y40Tejg
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 4, 2022
You guys won’t believe this but Tucker supporting Putin’s invasion of a sovereign country was actually the fault of a Black woman. https://t.co/bmnrQcb4ZE
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) March 4, 2022
It wasn't lost on anyone that Tucker is trying to blame his and his team's ineptitude on a Black woman they'd assumed was unserious.
I’m wrong but it was the fault of a black woman. Tucker is a vile person. Just the worst. https://t.co/V1Q8A9Jfn0
— manny (@manumarquez1986) March 4, 2022
What Tucker is doing here is much more sinister, and racist and sexist, than "blaming Biden and Harris."
He's saying "We were fooled because Kamala Harris was dealing with this, which made us think it wasn't serious, since you would never have Harris handle a serious problem." https://t.co/DaKPortg06
— James Surowiecki (@JamesSurowiecki) March 4, 2022
Incomprehensible and racist. Typical Tucker. It’s all an African American woman’s fault. https://t.co/JDMYUybDlG
— Max Boot 🇺🇦 (@MaxBoot) March 4, 2022
One of the only true things Carlson said in this most recent broadcast could've been an indictment of his own character: "The only thing more embarrassing than being wrong in your estimates is pretending that you weren't."