Days after Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed he was “joking” after saying he was rooting for Russia against Ukraine, the conservative primetime star began his Monday night show by claiming Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t hate America as much as some American journalists, such as NBC News’ Chuck Todd.
Carlson would then follow up his Putin-friendly remarks by essentially doubling-down on the same comments he walked back last week, claiming he was opposed to Russian sanctions while saying the U.S. “should probably take the side of Russia if we have to choose between Russia and Ukraine.”
Taking aim at Todd for accusing Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) of making the same arguments as Putin by claiming Ukraine “actively worked” for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Carlson insisted that “Russia didn’t hack our democracy” and that Russian election interference wasn’t “really a story.”
“The whole thing was a talking point—a ludicrous talking point—invented by the Hillary Clinton campaign on or around November 9, 2016, to explain their unexpected defeat in the last presidential election,” the Fox News host added.
Claiming Todd went “full Joe McCarthy” in his Kennedy interview, Carlson went on to call Todd and others at MSNBC “kind of dumb” because they “are still pretending that Russia collusion is the most important story there is.”
This prompted the Fox News star, who has been a loud and frequent critic of the Russia investigation, to then ask why “Vladimir Putin is so bad.”
“What makes Vladimir Putin worse than, I don't know, a whole long list of American allies?” Carlson wondered aloud before presenting the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as examples of people worse than Putin.
“They couldn't answer that,” he added. “For Chuck Todd and the rest of the dummies, Vladimir Putin isn't a real person with actual ideas and priorities and a country and beliefs.”
Calling Putin a “living metaphor” and “boogeyman” for MSNBC, he then sided with the Russian autocrat over members of the free press.
“The irony, of course, is that Putin, for all his faults, does not hate America as much as many of these people do,” Carlson exclaimed. “They really dislike our country. And they call other people traitors?”
Moments later, in an interview with pro-Trump Congressman Jim Jordan, the Fox star then made a comment that went even further than his previous claim that he was “rooting” for Russia over an American ally.
“I should say for the record that I’m totally opposed to these sanctions and I don’t think we should be at war with Russia,” Carlson said. “We should probably take the side of Russia if we have to choose between Russia and Ukraine. That's my view.”