Tuesday, April 6 marked an unfortunate anniversary: It was three months to the day since the failed MAGA coup of January 6. Three months is a long time, long enough for some to forget the horror of watching the chaos unfold on television and over social media, where many of the since-arrested perpetrators broadcasted their crimes. And it was long enough for their actions to get a bizarre and full-throated (albeit dishonest and suspiciously vague) defense from one of far right’s biggest mouthpieces.
That would be Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host who’s always game for saying whatever will enrage his base. He opened Tuesday night’s show by addressing the elephant in the room — then claiming the elephant wasn’t stomping over everything.
“For those of you are not good at dates or don’t have calendars,” Carlson said with deep and strange sarcasm, “this is the day that we pause to remember the white supremacist QAnon insurrection, that came so very close to toppling our government and ending this democracy forever.”
He then went on to defend the Trump supporters who pushed back against a greatly outnumbered security and police force, resulting in five deaths. He tried to bring age and class into it, claiming they were “older people from unfashionable zip codes.” (They were predominantly not at all “older” but ranging from young to early middle age.)
Carlson tried to make it seem like they’d merely did some sightseeing, saying, “They wandered freely through the Capitol, like it was their building or something.” He then tried to downplay their real intentions, conveniently eliding their weapons and that many were openly calling for kidnapping, even murder:
“They didn’t have guns, but a lot of them had extremely dangerous ideas. They talked about the Constitution, and something called their rights. Some of them made openly seditious claims. They insisted, for example, that the last election wasn’t entirely fair. The whole thing was terrifying, and then, as you’ve been told so very often, they committed unspeakable acts of violence.
He then suggested that one of the casualties — Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed during the chaos — was murdered by…it’s not clear who.
To this day, that woman is the one completely verified casualty of the insurrection, the only person whose death we can say definitively was caused by specific events on January 6th. We know how she died. The funny thing is, you almost never hear that woman’s name. Possibly that’s because she was not a Democratic member of congress or even a Joe Biden voter. She was a protester, her name was Ashli Babbitt. She was 35.
We still don’t know who shot Ashli Babbitt or why — no one will tell us.
But then, when you’re fighting insurrectionists, you don’t have to explain yourself. You just hyperventilate about QAnon and then you do whatever you want.
He then doubled down on his defense laced with conspiracy theorizing:
When a group of sad disenfranchised people who have been left out of the modern economy show up at your office, you don’t have to listen to their complaints. Not for a second. Why would you? You thought listening to people’s complaints was democracy? No, these people threaten democracy.
You could even shoot one of them if you want, and get away with it. Killing people without explaining yourself is an established part of counterinsurgency.
Was Tucker Carlson really siding with the violent insurrectionists who stalked the halls of the Capitol building, looking for progressive lawmakers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, hoping to string then-vice president Mike Pence up on a noose? Crazy as it may seem, it certainly appeared so!
Tucker Carlson's coverage of the January 6th Capitol attack is a staunch defense. pic.twitter.com/NDk5YkLvdi
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) April 7, 2021
it is wild that tucker's really trying to rewrite the chaos and violence we all watched live on tv as nbd https://t.co/oGYfLkmsJ5
— Tom Tomorrow (@tomtomorrow) April 7, 2021
Whatever he meant to say, it seemed dangerous.
Tonight, Tucker Carlson opened up his show with a full-throated defense of the insurrectionists.
He went on to act as if those being arrested were not committing real crimes and the arrests were somehow politically motivated.@FoxNews is airing undemocratic gaslighting garbage.
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) April 7, 2021
But Carlson wasn’t done. He also defended the guy who brought zip ties into the Capitol, as if that’s just something you bring when you visit Washington D.C.
He is endorsing it. This asshole came with weapons and zipties. Tucker is a seditionist too. https://t.co/xPwXWY7s0G
— Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) April 7, 2021
Anyway, it certainly didn’t take long for the far right to try and gaslight Americans into believing the failed MAGA coup was fine.