Fox News host Tucker Carlson has probably accrued a good deal of political capital with President Trump. Many have credited him with pressing the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic on him during a trip to Mar-a-Lago specifically for that purpose. When Dave Rubin recounts meeting the president, he recalls that Don Jr. told him his father had probably seen Rubin on Carlson’s show.
It is safe to assume that the president probably saw Tucker’s monologue last night. At 26 minutes it is significantly longer than usual because Carlson had quite a bit to say. It is also very possible that he spent some of his political capital to speak for the average American who does not have a platform.
I agree strongly with some of his sentiments. I also think he made a few mistakes.
Some saw the monologue as a direct criticism of the president. That is not how I heard it. I certainly heard direct criticism of a number of conservative leaders. I also can’t say I disagree with much of it. After seven days of riots and looting across the nation, I am not inclined to hang my head in shame.
I had nothing to do with the officer in Minneapolis and roundly condemned his actions, which I would have done no matter the race of the victim whose neck he placed the full weight of his body on. I had nothing to do with electing the decades-old Democrat majorities in that city that allowed this officer to remain on the force despite over a dozen complaints.
I also did not elect the virtue-signaling Democrat majorities in places like Los Angeles and New York City. Their primary job is to protect the lives and property of their citizens. They have failed spectacularly for nearly a week. If there is such a thing as political accountability, they should feel it keenly at the ballot box. Chances are, they won’t.
On the whole, I believe in individual responsibility. All indications at this point are that the officer in question will be held accountable. As he should be. This is how our system works. I am not going to be shamed into apologizing or virtue-signaling for sins I did not commit. Tucker’s assessment of the language in the wake of this week-long national tragedy was spot on.
It is perfectly rational to feel empathy for George Floyd’s family. They lost a loved one in a tragic and unnecessary way. Then they endured that loss with the video circulating on social media. Now they are watching the horror of cities burning and being looted as if it is in his name.
Not even the corporate media, which should have empathy for the family, can seem to distinguish between the legitimate protests in George Floyd’s name and the co-opting of their tragedy by bad actors with bad intentions. People like Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo do them no favors as the family pleads for the riots to end.
Unfortunately, this did not come across in Tucker’s monologue either. He did not acknowledge peaceful protests, which have certainly occurred nationwide. Nor did he express any empathy for the family. As difficult as the videos Tucker compiled were to watch, he did not acknowledge how the Floyd family might have felt as their loved one’s dying moments went viral on the internet. Or the horror they have expressed in what is purportedly being done in Mr. Floyd’s name. This distinction is actually important.
It’s a distinction the Trump administration has made. The president, the attorney general, and other spokespeople have correctly supported the constitutionally-protected right to assemble and speak. The line has been drawn at what can rightly be considered an insurrection. Those who crossed state lines to lead or support the riots, looting, and arson will be held accountable.
Tucker was also more right than wrong when he talked about the president’s response. Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr have handled this quickly and correctly from the word go. Both made multiple statements condemning the police officer’s behavior and ensuring justice would be served.
Where communication fell short was over the weekend. With reports of the White House going dark, the images of riots mere steps from the White House gate, and news that the president was taken to the bunker, Americans needed more than tweets. While Attorney General Barr issued a statement, the White House did not.
Something as simple as letting Americans know his best and brightest in law enforcement and the military were advising on steps to end the madness would have sufficed. This would have at least acknowledged that the administration’s foremost responsibility is to keep law-abiding citizens and their property safe. America heard that in the president’s remarks yesterday, but the weekend was pretty terrible. It should have come sooner.
I believe this is what the conclusion of Tucker’s monologue was about. Rumors over the weekend were that Chief of Staff Mark Meadows advocated Trump deliver a speech to the nation. The president’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was opposed. Carlson acknowledged that it was the president’s instincts on key policies that got him elected. He expressed frustration that Trump’s instincts seemed to be downplayed on key items, such as immigration, thanks to Kushner’s influence.
It appears to me that Tucker spent the political capital he had to tell President Trump to get back to basics. First and foremost, law and order. Second, get people back to work by jump-starting the economy and bringing jobs back. Finally, continue those policies that put America First.
If we hope to heal the gaping economic and cultural wounds caused by the pandemic and riots, it has to be America First. That is when we are at our best.