Tucker Carlson Makes Anti-Ukraine, Anti-Vaccine, Jan. 6 Views Top Topics At GOP Forum

DES MOINES, Iowa — Tucker Carlson can no longer spread his anti-Ukraine, anti-vaccine and Jan. 6 views on Fox News, but on Friday, he was able to make his conspiracy theories the top topics at a key candidates’ forum on the road to the Iowa Republican caucuses.

Carlson ― who just days ago gave a lengthy interview with accused rapist and human trafficker Andrew Tate ― asked South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott why all 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country could not be rounded up and dropped off in Tijuana, Mexico.

He asked former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson why he supported COVID vaccines, claiming that “many” people have been injured by them.

He opened up with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley by tossing out a favorite conspiracy theory that Democratic President Joe Biden couldn’t possibly have won 81 million votes in the 2020 election, and therefore, there must have been huge amounts of fraud.

And he badgered former Vice President Mike Pence both about his role in blocking Donald Trump’s attempt to remain in power despite losing the 2020 election as well as his support for Ukraine in its efforts to repel Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

“You are distressed that the Ukrainians don’t have enough American tanks?” Carlson asked, and then claimed that every city in the United States was filthy and crime-ridden. “Yet your concern is that the Ukrainians, a country most people can’t find on a map … don’t have enough tanks?”

Pence, who had already rejected Carlson’s allegation that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was persecuting Russian Orthodox priests because of their religious beliefs, grew visibly irritated.

“Tucker, I’ve heard the routine from you before,” Pence responded. “Anybody that says we can’t be the leader of the free world and solve our problems at home has a pretty small view of the greatest nation on Earth.”

Pence repeated his position that if Putin were to take over Ukraine, he would target a NATO ally of the United States next, and that Ukraine’s fight against Russia was serving an important U.S. interest. “A year and a half ago, Russia had the second most powerful military in the world. Today, they have the second most powerful military in Ukraine,” Pence said.

The former vice president later told reporters that he wished other issues — such as abortion — could have been raised during his 25 minutes onstage. “I’m really never surprised by Tucker Carlson,” he said.

Carlson was recruited to interview all six presidential candidates who appeared at the forum by Bob Vander Plaats, the head of the Family Leader evangelical Christian group that sponsored the event. He could not be reached for an interview Friday.

Carlson was the keynote speaker at last year’s summit, and Vander Plaats said in his opening remarks that he had invited Carlson to handle the onstage interviews earlier this year.

Attendees had mixed views on Carlson’s approach.

Donna Jost, a 66-year-old retiree from Morton, Illinois, said she doesn’t think NATO should exist at all, so was glad that Carlson was making American support for Ukraine a top issue. “I support it,” she said, adding that Carlson was going after every candidate, not just Pence. “He’s hitting each one on a point of weakness.”

But Joan Bundt, who is 83 and said that the Family Leader summits are a high point of her year, said she was not pleased with Carlson or his questions. “Personally, I just thought it was offensive,” she said, wondering why Carlson did not ask any of the candidates in the morning session about abortion or school vouchers or other issues important to Iowa conservatives. “He’s talking about what he wants to talk about.”

Carlson was fired from his Fox News program shortly after the network settled with Dominion Voting Systems for $787 million after the voting machine company launched a defamation lawsuit. Carlson and other Fox hosts and their guests repeatedly claimed — falsely — that the company’s machines were part of a plot to steal the 2020 election from Trump. Trump in turn based his Jan. 6, 2021, coup attempt on the anger the election lies stoked among his followers.


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