Fox News host Tucker Carlson revived a sexist jab against newly named Democratic vice-presidential pick Kamala Harris, implying that she got ahead in her political career due to a brief personal relationship with former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.
Carlson, who recently suggested it was “illegal” for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to prioritize a Black female running mate, kicked off Tuesday night’s broadcast by tearing into the California senator.
Right away, the Fox News star said that while other vice presidential contenders had “sincere beliefs,” Harris is the “opposite of that” and the “single most transactional human being in America.” He then went on to insinuate that unseen leaders in the Democratic Party chose both Biden and Harris, calling it the “first entirely hollow presidential ticket in American history.”
“What they wanted instead was someone they could control and Joe Biden fit that description perfectly,” he continued. “Biden was eager, malleable, and totally blank. He was willing to be whatever his handlers wanted him to be. Kamala Harris will be every bit as eager and that’s the point.”
Having already described Harris as “transactional” and “eager,” Carlson then brought the Democratic lawmaker’s past romantic history into the equation.
“If Biden and Harris still doesn’t make sense to you as a ticket, it’s only because you are not cynical enough,” Carlson said. “Harris clearly wasn’t picked for her personal charm. More than 30 years ago, she dated a man called Willie Brown, who was later the mayor of San Francisco.”
“She was 29 years old at the time and Brown was 60 and still married,” he added. “Brown launched Harris’ political career. He knows her very well.”
For a brief time in the mid-1990s, Harris and Brown dated. And despite Carlson’s insinuation, Brown had already been separated from his wife for more than a decade prior to his relationship with Harris. After Brown wrote an op-ed last year acknowledging that they had previously been romantically involved, conservatives (and some progressives) launched misogynistic attacks against Harris, claiming she used sex to get ahead politically.
One of Carlson’s Fox colleagues—Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren—even sparked public backlash from several female Fox News personalities after she tweeted: “Kamala did you fight for ideals or did you sleep your way to the top with Willie Brown?” Lahren eventually walked back those comments, apologizing for her “wrong choice of words.”
After pushing his sexist jab against Harris on Tuesday night, Carlson lost it after Democratic strategist Richard Goodstein attempted to correct the Fox host’s repeatedly mispronouncing of Harris’ name, saying it was “disrespectful.”
“So I’m disrespecting her by mispronouncing her name unintentionally,” Carlson fumed. “So it begins! You’re not allowed to criticize Kamala Harris or Kamala Harris or whatever!… Look, I unintentionally mispronounced her name, but I love the idea she’s immune to criticism.”
As CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy pointed out on Tuesday night, Carlson has made it “sort of a thing” to purposely mispronounce the names of prominent people he’s critical of, such as CNN anchor Don Lemon.