OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Fox News star Tucker Carlson has explained a text message that surfaced earlier this month showing a rift that developed between him and then-President Donald Trump in the days ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.
According to BBC News, a text message exchange between Carlson and a colleague from January 2021 was submitted as evidence in a lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox News. In the messages, a clearly frustrated Carlson said he “hates” Trump “with a passion.”
The electronic voting firm, which faced problems during the 2020 election cycle, is suing Fox News for allegedly propagating unfounded accusations of vote manipulation regarding their machines during the election. Fox News has denied the allegations and has claimed that Dominion is taking the words and messages of its personalities out of context for the purpose of swaying the trial outcome.
The texts from Carlson at issue are from January 4, 2021, two days before the events of January 6. “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights,” one text message included in the lawsuit said. “I truly can’t wait.”
“I hate him passionately,” Carlson noted further, adding in another text that Trump’s presidency has been a “disaster.”
“That’s the last four years. We’re all pretending we’ve got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it’s been is too tough to digest. But come on. There isn’t really an upside to Trump,” the message read.
In its lawsuit, Dominion is claiming these messages are part of a pattern of others that prove that Fox News was purposefully airing false information regarding the election outcome.
Fox News has fired back at Dominion, denouncing their legal filing as an overt effort to infringe upon freedom of the press.
“Thanks to today’s filings, Dominion has been caught red-handed again using more distortions and misinformation in their PR campaign to smear Fox News and trample on free speech and freedom of the press,” Fox said in a statement at the time.
Tucker Carlson agrees that the violation of his privacy is unacceptable and expressed his anger at the revelation of his private text messages. However, he vehemently denies the allegation that he despises Trump. During a conversation with Bo Snerdley, the producer and call screener for the late talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh, Carlson explained that he actually “loves Trump as a person.”
He also told Snerdley, a.k.a. James Golden, during Golden’s “Rush Hour” podcast that his words in the text were an exaggerated emotional response to incorrect information provided by an “incompetent” member of Trump’s staff following the 2020 election.
Like his employer, Carlson said he believes that the publication of his text messages is an unjustifiable strategy employed in the lawsuit.
“Those were all grabbed completely illegitimately, in my opinion, in this court case which I guess I’m not allowed to talk about. But I’m enraged that my private texts were pulled,” he said.
After Snerdley asked Carlson if he really dislikes Trump, the Fox News star replied: “Let’s see, I spent four years defending his policies, and I’m going to defend him again tonight.”
“Actually, I love Trump like as a person. I think Trump is funny and insightful and — and I said this to Trump when he called me all wounded about those texts,” Carlson continued.
However, he then explained what led him to lash out.
“That was a moment in time where I was absolutely infuriated,” he explained. “Those particular texts were pulled at the moment when I was texting my producers because some idiot on the Trump campaign had sent us the names of these dead voters who had voted and we went, and I repeated them on the air and it turns out that some of them were alive. So, I felt humiliated.”
“And I thought then and I think now that that election was not on the level. It was not a free and fair election. I thought that then and I think it now,” Carlson added. “And so I was trying to, I wanted evidence.”
He then said he didn’t believe that “senile” Joe Biden got 81 million votes — far more than Barack Obama — and expressed further doubt about the 2020 election outcome.
“I mean there’s no way the guy got 81 [million votes], he got more votes than Barack Obama? Really? You know? Whatever you think of Obama, I never liked Obama, but he is a really talented — a VERY talented — politician. And Joe Biden is senile and hid in his basement,” Tucker explained. “Tell me how he got 81 million votes? So, I’ve always felt that was not on the level.”
“And so, I said to the Trump people, you’re saying that election was rigged, send me some examples of it and I’ll put it on the air,” Tucker repeated. “And one of them was these dead voters, well it turned out some of them were still alive. And I was so mad by the incompetence of that campaign — which was completely incompetent.”
“Anyway, whatever, I was mad,” Tucker said.