The handoff between Fox News stars Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson struck a decidedly uncomfortable note on Tuesday night as it came right after Carlson railed against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who was minutes away from appearing Hannity’s show.
The awkwardness was intensified by Hannity claiming he was unable to hear anything his Fox colleague said during the handoff before quickly launching into his opening monologue.
At the very end of his Tuesday night broadcast, Carlson blasted Graham—a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee—for not doing more to block President Joe Biden’s court nominees from being confirmed.
“Senate aides tell us that because of Lindsey Graham—one man—the Biden administration is able to rush its nominees through the Senate confirmation process faster than any other president in memory,” the right-wing Fox host grumbled. “So the most radical president of our lifetime gets the most judges confirmed thanks to Lindsey Graham.”
Carlson, a vocal critic of Graham’s, ended his commentary by calling the senator a coward and criticizing those who support the South Carolina lawmaker.
“The question is, why are conservatives continuing to promote him and allowing him to continue to sit on the judiciary committee? Well, we would love to ask that question of Lindsey Graham himself,” Carlson intoned. “We have asked him many times to come on the show but he refuses because he’s afraid. And that’s a shame, that would be a very interesting, fact-based conversation.”
Tapping his papers on his desk following the conclusion of his Graham-trashing monologue, a smirking Carlson then transitioned to his colleague. “Well, that’s it! That’s all the time we have tonight. Sean Hannity takes over now,” the Tucker Carlson Tonight host cheerfully said.
After a brief beat, Hannity responded: “Alright, Tucker. Whoops, didn’t hear you.”
Graham frequently appears on Hannity’s show for extremely friendly interviews. And a short while after Carlson’s rant calling him “afraid” to come on his show, the senator showed up on Hannity’s program to talk about the Afghanistan evacuation, insisting that Biden should be impeached for his handling of the U.S. withdrawal.
While viewers can only take Hannity at his word that he didn’t hear Carlson prior to or during the transition, Carlson ending his show by trashing one of his colleague’s favorite guests does fuel speculation that Carlson—who is not above taking pot shots at his own colleagues—did this purposely to tweak Hannity.
Tensions between the two top Fox stars have occasionally risen to the surface. Last year, Hannity took to Twitter to apologize for any “misunderstanding” a day after he seemed to rebuke Carlson’s commentary about Amazon founder Jeff Bezos live on-air, prompting Carlson to noticeably react.
And earlier this summer, after it was reported that Carlson allegedly mocks Hannity behind his back while gossiping with reporters, Hannity loudly insisted that he doesn’t “give a shit” what anyone says about him.