Tucker Carlson blasts Trump, says he 'recklessly encouraged' supporters before riot at Capitol
"That is in fact what happened," Carlson said.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson, among the most vehement in his support for President Trump, on Thursday blasted the president, saying he "recklessly encouraged" supporters before the Wednesday riot at the Capitol, which left one protester and one Capitol Police officer dead.
But Carlson said Democrats plan to use the riot as a "pretext for an unprecedented crackdown on civil liberties."
"Just in the last several hours we have heard people in positions of power and authority demand that those who support Donald Trump should no longer be allowed to publish books or use the internet or fly on airplanes," he said.
"What happened yesterday, they're telling us, wasn't simply that a political protest got out of hand after the president recklessly encouraged it, that is in fact what happened," Carlson said, acknowledging that Trump incited supporters at a fiery speech earlier on Wednesday.
"We've gone from being this big continental country with an enormous span of concerns and interests to a sweaty chat room of 300 million people, all of whom are focused on a single man, Donald Trump," Carlson said. "That is not healthy no matter how you feel about Trump."
"At some point you've got to wonder about where our country is putting all of its energy," Carlson continued. "Is any single president, anyone worth all of this time and attention? All politicians whether you agree with them or not come with a shelf life, they are people. They don't last forever, none of us do. In Trump's case, the expiration date arrives in 13 days, and after that, he will not be president."
Just an hour before the riot broke out, Trump delivered a fiery speech before thousands of supporters packed onto the National Mall.
Claiming that the "emboldened radical left Democrats" and the media have conspired against him, Trump declared: "We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn't happen. You don't concede. Our country [has] had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that's what this is all about."
Trump said he lost the 2020 election because of an "explosion of bulls***." The crowd responded by chanting, "Bulls***!"
"Everybody knows that the election, our election was over at 10 o'clock in the evening, when we were leading Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia by hundreds of thousands of votes," he said. "And then, late in the evening or early in the morning, boom, this explosion of bulls***. And all of a sudden, all of a sudden it started to happen.
"Almost 75 million people voted for our campaign, the most of any incumbent president, by far in the history of our country, 12 million more people than four years ago. Does anybody believe that Joe [Biden] had 80 million votes? Does anybody believe that?"
The president again sought to put pressure on Vice President Mike Pence, telling the thousands of supporters that stretched back to the Washington Mall that Pence should send Electoral College votes back to the states to be recertified.
"All Mike Pence has to do is send it back to the states," Trump said. "Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn't, it’s a sad day for our country."
"I hope Mike is going do the right thing," Trump said. "If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. He has the absolute right to do it."
About an hour after his speech, lawmakers from the House and Senate gathered in the House chamber for a joint session to certify President-elect Joe Biden's election win. Thousands of Trump supporters had marched down to the Capitol, joining thousands more already there. Protesters clashed with heavily outnumbered members of the Capitol Police, who protect the Capitol.
Within a few minutes, the protesters had pulled down barriers facing the West Front of the Capitol and swept up the stairs. They hit from the other side of the building, too. They ran amok in the building until the National Guard, along with D.C. and Capitol Police, regained control of the Capitol.