But Carlson—who recently compared some anti-Trump politicians to segregationist George Wallace—wasn’t always such a supporter of The Donald.
Carlson had a bit of a more measured take on Trump’s candidacy in a piece he wrote for Politico in January of last year. The premise was basically that Trump could teach Republicans a valuable lesson and that he demonstrated that their brand of politics had failed.
It also began with a pretty stunning anecdote.
“About 15 years ago, I said something nasty on CNN about Donald Trump’s hair,” Carlson wrote. “I can’t now remember the context, assuming there was one. In any case, Trump saw it and left a message the next day. “It’s true you have better hair than I do,” Trump said matter-of-factly. “But I get more pussy than you do.” Click.”
Carlson goes on to say that “The message had all the hallmarks of a Trump attack: shocking, vulgar and indisputably true” and that Trump was not his “first choice for president.”
But in the months that followed, something changed. Nevertheless, he did or said something that warranted the specific praise of the president-elect.
(The day prior, Carlson had gone on Fox News to discuss the attack on Pamela Geller’s “Draw Muhammad” contest in Garland, Texas.)
Carlson also has something else in common with the incoming leader of the free world. They both have a soft spot for Alex Jones, America’s leading conspiracy theorist, 9/11 truther, Sandy Hook truther, and anti-Beyoncé crusader who also actually advised Trump during the 2016 campaign.
Carlson has been on Jones’s paranoid-conspiracy-theory-mongering show multiple times for cozy chats, and Jones has lauded Carlson’s “great coverage on Fox” as recently as last year.
In late May 2015, for instance, Carlson went on Jones’s broadcast to complain about President Obama and liberals pushing "ethnic politics" and “Nazi stuff.” (Alex Jones has frequently told his viewers and listeners that Barack Obama is very much like a dictator and a black Adolf Hitler.)
Carlson only recently gotten a gig with Fox to host a show during the 7 p.m. hour after leaving his position as editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller.
In the two months that Carlson’s show has been on the network, he has made headlines for acrimonious exchanges with writers like Teen Vogue’s Lauren Duca and for one particularly odd segment with Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald, which started as a discussion of journalistic ethics and Trump’s mental health and rapidly degenerated into several minutes of non-sequiturs, visual aid, and embarrassing snippiness. He recently also brought on left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald to brush off allegations and reports of Russian government-directed, pro-Trump hacking during the presidential election.
While Carlson hasn’t necessarily stooped to the boot-licking level of fellow Trump acolyte Sean Hannity, he has been vocal about his support for the 45th president.
In August, Carlson made an appeal to Republicans who didn’t support Trump by appearing on Fox and Friends and saying that a Hillary Clinton victory would fundamentally change America.
“She’s going to open the borders, pack the Supreme Court and you are not going to have the same country,” Carlson said on the program, which is a favorite of Trump’s. “Maybe you like that, maybe you don’t. But we’re not going back to the status quo, period. And so Republicans need to understand if Trump loses, it is a new America, OK? A lot is on the line, whether you like him or not. That is real.”
The 47-year-old conservative commentator has been a fixture on cable news since the early 2000’s, during which time he co-hosted CNN’s Crossfire and went on to have a short-lived show on MSNBC, Fox’s left-leaning cable-news competitor. His libertarian-ish, Ron-Paul-loving, right-leaning role back then was vastly different from the Tucker Carlson of his Daily Caller and Fox News era, which has been defined largely by a fealty to Fox News, and unveiled racial anxieties.
For instance, in late 2006, Carlson, on his MSNBC show Tucker, went after one of Fox News’s biggest stars, Bill O’Reilly, practically thrashing him as a rape-apologizing victim blamer. (O’Reilly had just done a radio segment on how a New Jersey teenager who was raped and murdered was in part to blame because of her intoxication, what she was wearing, and where and when she was walking alone.)
"So, she's got a halter top with a bare midriff and she's drunk; therefore, she gets raped and murdered, as if that's natural? That's what happens when you've got a bare midriff and you're loaded? Not in my America, buddy," Carlson said on-air in response to O’Reilly’s criticism of the dead rape victim, knocking him for his "pretty low standards."
“I don't know if O'Reilly is attempting to blame her for luring this guy in…It’s sick all around; you ought to be able to wear whatever you want on our streets and not get raped and murdered,” Carlson continued. “Period."
(Roughly a decade later, the Carlson of Fox News fame would of course go on to opine about how Americans who complained about a statutory rape case were “whiny,” and why identifying rape-y tones in popular culture is repressive feminism.)
Nowadays, calling out Fox News is the farthest impulse from Carlson’s mind. Despite the fact that his new Fox show is all about how “The Media” is liberally biased, self-beclowning, and corrupt, Carlson’s time leading The Daily Caller was marked by the voluntary self-censorship of his own site—to the point where he would kill stories critical of Fox News, his other source of income.
This is merely scratching the surface when it comes to his hypocrisy and breach of basic journalistic standards when running his right-wing website.
“I have two rules,” Carlson said in early 2015. “One is you can’t criticize the families of the people who work here. And the other rule is you can’t go after Fox. Only for one reason, not because they’re conservative or we agree with them [or] because they’re doing the Lord’s work. Nothing like that. It’s because I work there, I’m an anchor on Fox.”
Carlson has, again, been rewarded for his unwavering loyalty.