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McConnell blames Tucker Carlson for pulling Republicans away from supporting Ukraine aid

Carlson interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin in February, in a two-hour interview that was met with backlash from critics who claimed Carlson was too lenient in his questions for the Russian leader. 

Published: April 23, 2024 5:52pm

Updated: April 23, 2024 7:55pm

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted former Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday, claiming he was part of the reason some Republicans have been hesitant to send more aid to Ukraine in its war with Russia.

Carlson, who parted with Fox News last year, interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin in February. The two-hour interview was met with backlash from critics, including former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who claimed Carlson was too lenient in his questions for the Russian leader. 

“I think the demonization of Ukraine began by Tucker Carlson, who in my opinion ended up where he should have been all along, which was interviewing Vladimir Putin,” McConnell said, according to The Hill. “He convinced a lot of rank-and-file Republicans that maybe this was a mistake.”

McConnell also acknowledged that Carlson’s criticism of the Ukraine-Russia war began before he departed Fox News. Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis told Carlson before he left Fox that the war in Ukraine was not a vital national interest to Americans, though he later described the comments as "mischaracterized."

“While the U.S. has many vital national interests … becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis said at the time. He has since walked back the statement.

Carlson has defended his interview, stating that he is not “pro-Putin” as critics try to argue. Carlson has been hosting his own show on social media since December.

“If I was, that’s OK, too. I’m an adult man, an American citizen, I can like or dislike anyone I want. I can have any opinion I want,” Carlson said on Glenn Beck’s BlazeTV+ program in February.

The Senate advanced a $95 billion foreign aid package on Tuesday, deciding to end the debate on the package so they can vote on it on either Tuesday or Wednesday. One of the bills includes $61 billion in aid for Ukraine, and another includes $26 billion for Israel, according to Reuters.

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