Fox News host Tucker Carlson grilled a GOP congressman on Wednesday night for urging American military support to Ukraine amid increased Russian aggression. And at one point, Carlson wondered “why we would take Ukraine’s side and not Russia’s side” in the conflict.
In recent days, Russia has greatly increased its military presence at the Ukraine border, raising alarms in Washington and Kyiv over the troop buildup. The White House has told Moscow reigniting the conflict with the U.S. ally would be a “serious mistake,” and Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) has further called on the Biden administration “to immediately provide support to the Ukrainians to help de-escalate this dangerous situation.”
While initially a vocal supporter of the Iraq War, Carlson has since embraced isolationism and now says America “ought to hesitate before intervening abroad.” The Fox News star, who has expressed sympathy for authoritarian regimes, also insists that Russia is not a threat to the United States and has said America should work with the Russians against common enemies. Additionally, he’s claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin “does not hate America” as much as American liberals do.
During his Wednesday evening interview with Turner, Carlson repeatedly pressed the Ohio Republican on his call for the Biden administration to “take immediate and swift action” in Ukraine, asking Turner “why it is in America’s interest that their kids risk their lives” in the region.
After stating that “we already have troops in Ukraine,” Turner claimed he was merely trying to “raise the importance so that people understand” that the Biden administration could be overseeing another “debacle” on par with the withdrawal from Afghanistan if action’s not taken.
“So the lesson of 20 years in Afghanistan and the tragic and cowardly and counterproductive exit from Afghanistan is that we need more troops in Ukraine?” Carlson shot back. “So why should the average American care about the territorial integrity of Ukraine, sincerely?”
The hawkish congressman responded that it’s of “strategic importance” for both the United States and its NATO allies to offer military intelligence and lethal weapons to Ukraine due to its location along the Black Sea.
The anti-immigrant Carlson groused about using U.S. military strength to protect Ukraine’s “territorial integrity” rather than sending troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to combat the “invasion” of “foreign nationals,” referencing the recent increase of migrants entering America.
Eventually, Carlson wanted to know why the United States should even be an ally of Ukraine.
“Hold on, why would we take Ukraine’s side and not Russia’s side? It’s a sincere question, if you’re looking at America’s perspective,” Carlson proclaimed. “Who’s got the energy reserves? Who was the major player in world affairs? Who’s the potential counterbalance against China, which is the actual threat? Why would we take Ukraine’s side, why aren’t we on Russia’s side? I’m totally confused!”
Turner replied that Ukraine is a democracy and “Russia is an authoritarian regime that is seeking to impose its will upon a validly elected democracy,” noting that America is “for democracy” and “not for authoritarian regimes.” Carlson shrugged off that response.
“I mean, I’m for democracies in other countries, I guess, but I’m really for America and I think that our interest is in counterbalancing the actual threat, which is China,” the host retorted. “And the only other country with any throw weight that might help us do that is Russia, and our continuation of the Cold War has pushed Russia towards China, and that does not serve our interests in any way, does it? Or maybe it does.”
The two continued to spar for a few more minutes on the subject, with Turner even taking a shot at frequent Carlson guest J.D. Vance after the Fox host wondered aloud once again why troops weren’t being sent to close down the U.S. Southern border.
“Unlike your anti-Trump friend J.D. Vance, I supported Donald Trump in closing the border,” Turner said of the embattled Ohio GOP Senate hopeful.
While Turner tried to use Trump as a cudgel against Carlson, asserting that the former president “sent lethal weapons and intelligence” to support Ukraine against Russia, Carlson brushed it aside.
“I’m aware. I thought it was stupid then, I think it’s stupid now,” Carlson said.
Unlike two years ago, when he walked back his claim that he was rooting for Russia in its conflict with Ukraine, it doesn’t appear that the Fox News star was merely “joking” this time around.