Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday hit back at senators from both parties who condemned his efforts to whitewash the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol with selectively released video clips of Capitol surveillance footage from the day of the attack.
Earlier in the day, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he “joined” a blistering statement from U.S. Capitol Police Chief J Thomas Manger, who said Carlson’s description of the attack on the Capitol was a peaceful protest armed by Democrats against former President Donald Trump’s supporters alleged “insulting and misleading conclusions” about the siege, the worst assault on the US legislature since British forces under Major General Robert Ross seized it in 1814 strike fire.
“It was, in my opinion, a mistake by Fox News to portray this in a way that completely contradicts what our chief law enforcement officer here at the Capitol thinks,” McConnell told reporters.
Other GOP senators echoed McConnell’s condemnation of Carlson’s Monday show, including North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, who described the Fox host’s Jan. 6 view as “bulls***.”
Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota told reporters, “I think it is a crime to break through glass windows and doors to enter the United States Capitol against the confines of the police.”
“I think especially when you get into the rooms, when you start opening the members’ desks, when you get out on their balcony — to somehow put that in the same category as, know you, allowed peaceful protest is just a lie,” he added.
On Tuesday, Carlson suggested that the GOP senators’ convictions at the start of his show indicated disloyalty to the Republican Party.
“We also have to say that you, Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, were joined in this outcry by the Senate Minority Leader and that would be a Republican, Mitch McConnell. And they were joined by a cascade of other Republicans, Thom Tillis of North Carolina. Utah’s Mitt Romney all share the same outrage. And from this we learn two things: First, you’re getting close to what they really care about. And you must be wondering why? Why is it so important that they should humiliate themselves by telling such blatant lies and calling for censorship?” he said.
“The second thing we learned from this is that they are on the same side… so it’s not really about left and right. It’s not about Republican and Democrat. Here you have people with shared interests. The people with open borders…the people like Mitch McConnell who live in splendor on Chinese money. The people who all have everything in common under that are all against everyone else and that would include almost all news organizations in this country.”
But Carlson’s show didn’t include much new information beyond his response to his own party’s criticism.
Instead, he played an interview with Tarik Khalid Johnson, a former Capitol police officer who was chastised after the riot for donning a Make American Great Again hat as he moved through the crowd of protesters.
Mr Johnson, who has since resigned from the department, has said he donned the red hat to get people into the riotous crowd to help him rescue a group of officers trapped during the attack.
He told Carlson that the department’s leadership had not received the necessary information about the possibility of violence against the officers on the scene.
“We should have been better prepared that day and we could have been better prepared that day if the information had been disseminated as it should be – disseminated as it should be,” he said.
He repeated an explanation for his use of the Maga hat as a means of self-preservation.
“I thought if I had the hat on it would be easier for me to navigate the crowd. It was basically self-preservation and de-escalation and I had to go up those stairs. I couldn’t say what would have happened if I walked through that crowd without it,” he said.
Both he and Carlson blamed a former USCP official, Yogananda Pittman, for the day’s failures, and Carlson suggested that Ms. Pittman’s acceptance of a job at the University of California at Berkeley was a reward from former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi .