As the House committee investigating Jan. 6 held its first night of televised hearings on Thursday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed that the “most disturbing” part of that day wasn’t the violent mob of Trump supporters assaulting officers and illegally interrupting the democratic process over a lie, but rather Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) telling Capitol police to use their guns to protect the Capitol and those rightfully in it.
“I think the most disturbing moment a year and a half later, looking back, is the moment when Lindsey Graham turned to the Capitol Police and said, ‘You have guns. Use them,’” Carlson said. The Washington Post reported last October that Graham was angry when he and other senators had to be whisked to safety in the Hart Senate Office Building as Trump supporters roamed the halls. “What are you doing? Take back the Senate! You’ve got guns. Use them,” he yelled at the Senate sergeant-at-arms. “We give you guns for a reason.”
Carlson, who had already mentioned how one Capitol officer shot and killed rioter Ashli Babbitt—who “posed no conceivable threat to anyone,” he claimed—returned to the subject.
“They had just shot an unarmed military veteran to death. She stood about 5 feet tall. And I guess what bothers me the most is that nobody cared,” Carlson told guest Tulsi Gabbard.
The Fox host then falsely claimed that Babbitt’s death wasn’t investigated.
“Police take life; often it’s justified. We’ve defended it on this show. But to not investigate it or explain it suggests the life that was taken was worth nothing,” Carlson said. “And that is the message they are sending: that this woman’s life didn’t mean anything. We just killed her and threw her away. How can members of Congress sit there and allow that?”
In fact, Lt. Michael Byrd was exonerated by the U.S. Capitol Police, with its internal affairs unit finding that his “conduct was lawful and within Department policy.” Byrd’s identity was kept anonymous for months due to death threats he had received over his actions.
Carlson’s show notably did not include any commercials but rather a steady stream of guests brought on to denigrate the Jan. 6 committee’s work, just as Carlson himself has done routinely. Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment about this alteration to normal programming. The network had said Monday that Fox News Channel would not air the primetime hearings and would cover them only “as news warrants.”
During Carlson’s show, a live image feed of the hearing room did not appear to show videos of Jan. 6 violence that were being played by the committee. Meanwhile, viewers of the uninterrupted Fox program were told, via chyron, to “stay with Tucker for the truth about January 6th.”