Monday, Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson opened his program with a scathing critique of how the government responded to the chaos and rioting committed in the name of protesting the death of George Floyd while in the hands of Minneapolis police last week.
The Fox News Channel host hit all levels of government — federal, state and local. He urged President Donald Trump to act despite what he was being told by his inner circle, including Jared Kushner.
Carlson warned if Trump was unsuccessful in efforts to restore order, he could lose the 2020 presidential election.
Partial transcript as follows:
CARLSON: The nation went up in flames this weekend. No one in charge stood up to save America. Our leaders dithered. They cowered. They openly sided with the destroyers.
In many cases, they egged them on. Later, they will deny all of this. They are denying it now. You know the truth. You saw it happen.
This is how nations collapse. With no one in authority keeping order — and so many in our professional class encouraging violence — American citizens are now forced to defend themselves. They have no choice. No one else is going to defend them. They know that now. It’s possible that more people will be hurt in coming days. That would be a tragedy. But in an environment like this, more violence could very well lead to a cascade of new tragedies — to something far bigger and more destructive than anything we’ve seen so far. This isn’t over. It might simply be the beginning. We pray it is not.
It’s hard to think clearly about any of this. The chaos, the destruction, the relentless lying from above — it’s all too much. Americans are bewildered and afraid. But most of all, they are filled with rage — angrier than they’ve ever been. The worst people in our society have taken control. They did nothing to build this country. Now they are tearing it down. They’re rushing us toward mass suicide. So, how do we respond?
We must protect ourselves and our families. Once again, we have no choice. But we can’t allow ourselves to become like they are. We are not animals. We are Americans. In the face of such indecency, we must resolve to be decent. We believe this country has a future. We intend for our children to live and thrive here. That is what we are defending. All our leaders do all they can to set us against each other — a never-ending national cockfight for their profit and amusement. But we won’t play along. We will love our neighbors relentlessly, in spite of all of it. Not because they look like us or share our political views. But we love them because they are human beings and they are Americans. Those are the bonds our leaders seek to destroy. We can’t let them.
We should start by being unsparingly honest about what’s happening right now. Truth is our defense and our country’s last hope. We plan to use tonight’s hour to create a record of this moment right now — to show you what’s really going on in your country. We feel an obligation to do that before the facts are spun into propaganda by the liars, or the images are pulled off the internet forever, as many of them inevitably will be.
The point is, this a profound national emergency. You’d never know that from listening to our elected leaders. Almost all of them pretend this isn’t really happening — or if it is happening, it’s just part of America’s long tradition of vigorous political discourse. Politicians on both sides tell us this is all about the death of a man in police custody in Minneapolis last week. The people burning our country down are “protesters,” engaged in legitimate “protest.”
OK. What exactly are these protesters’ demands? What are they asking for? If Congress agreed to enact their program tomorrow, what would it be? Not a single person even hints at the answer because there isn’t an answer. No one had bothered to poll the guys beating up old ladies on the street, or looting Gucci, but you’ve got to wonder how many of them have ever even heard of George Floyd. And if they have heard of him, what difference would it make? Violence and looting aren’t forms of political expression. If you were killed tomorrow, how many buildings would you want burned to the ground in your memory? How many old women smashed in the face on the street in your name? None, we hope. You’re not a vicious psychopath like the people you just watched.
In fact, what we’re watching is the opposite of a political protest. This is an attack on the idea of politics. The rioters are trying to topple our political system. That system is how we resolve our differences without violence. But these people want a new system, one governed by force: Do what we say, or we’ll hurt you. You can see it all for yourself on TV. You have. But our leaders keep lying and telling us it’s not happening.
Some Democrats have openly embraced it. Really, they don’t have much of a choice. These are their voters, cleaning out the Rolex store. These riots are effectively the largest Joe Biden for president rally on record. In gratitude, more than a dozen Biden campaign staffers donated money to the rioters in Minneapolis and then bragged about it on Twitter. No Democratic leader can directly criticize what is happening. Some have joined in. Over the weekend, the Democratic Party of Fairfax, VA, which is an important Democratic organization, released this statement on Twitter. Quote: “Riots are an integral part of this country’s march towards progress.”
“Progress.” Burning buildings. Tear gas. Dead bodies. The screaming injured. Criminal anarchy. To the Democratic Party of Fairfax, that’s “progress.”
Celebrity after celebrity has weighed in to agree. From his fortified compound, basketball star LeBron James has used his social media accounts to encourage more rioting. Bernie Sanders surrogate Shaun King has done the same. So has Black Lives Matter leader Deroy McKesson. Colin Kapernick openly calls for violence. Here’s a quote: “The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears,” he says approvingly.
Imagine shouting fire in a crowded theater — a theater with 325 million people in it. That’s what they’re doing, and have been for days. When the violence began, what we needed more than anything was clarity. America needed someone, to tell the truth to the country. Instead, almost all of our so-called conservative leaders joined the left’s chorus.
On Friday, as American cities were being destroyed by mobs, the Vice President of the United States refused to say anything specific about the riots we were watching on television. Instead, Mike Pence scolded America for its racism. Carly Fiorina, once a leading Republican presidential candidate, tweeted that quote: “it’s white America that now must see the truth, speak the truth and act on the truth.” Kay Cole James, the president of the Heritage Foundation, that’s the largest conservative think tank in the country, wrote a long screed denouncing America as an irredeemably racist nation. Quote, “How many times will protests have to occur?” Got that? “Have to” occur. Like the rest of us caused this by our sinfulness. The message from leaders on the right, as on the left, was unambiguous: Don’t complain; you deserve what’s happening to you.
No one jumped in more forcefully, or seemed angrier at America, than former South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley. “Tonight, I turned on the news and am heartbroken,” Haley wrote. “It’s important to understand that the death of George Floyd was personal and painful for many. In order to heal, it needs to be personal and painful for everyone.”
But wait a second, you may be wondering. “How am I quote, ‘personally’ responsible for the behavior of a Minneapolis police officer? I’ve never even been to Minneapolis you may think to yourself. And why is some politician telling me what I’m required to be upset about?”
Those are all good questions. Nikki Haley didn’t answer them. Explaining isn’t her strong suit. That would require thinking. What Nikki Haley does best is moral blackmail. During the 2016 campaign, she compared Donald Trump to the racist mass murderer Dylan Roof. How is Donald Trump similar to a serial killer? Nikki Haley never explained. She wasn’t trying to educate anyone. Her goal was political advantage. Nikki Haley is exceptionally good at getting what she wants. She’s happy to denounce you as a racist in order to get it. She just did.
In this case, Haley’s wish came true: the riots were indeed quote, “personal and painful for everyone.” And then the pain kept increasing. Two days later, dozens of American cities had been thoroughly trashed, some destroyed. A country already on the brink of recession suddenly faced economic collapse. An already fearful population locked down for months had been thoroughly terrorized. Mission accomplished. Let’s hope Nikki Haley is pleased. We’ve atoned.
That tape raised a troubling question: If you can’t keep a Fox News correspondent from getting attacked directly across from your house, how can you protect my family? How are you going to protect the country? How hard are you trying? On Twitter the next morning, the president reassured America that he and his family were just fine. Their federally-funded bodyguards had kept them safe. He did not mention protecting the rest of the nation, some of which was on fire. He seemed aware only of himself.
For people who voted for Donald Trump, who support his policies, who have defended him for years against the most absurd kinds of slander, this was a distressing moment.
The first requirement of leadership is that you watch over the people in your care. That’s what soldiers want from their officers. It’s what families need from their fathers. It’s what voters demand from their presidents. People will put up with almost anything in exchange for it. You can regularly say embarrassing things on television. You can hire John Bolton, or Omarosa to work at the White House. All of that will be forgiven if you protect your people. But if you don’t protect them — or, worse, if you seem like you can’t be bothered to protect them — then you’re done. It’s over. People will not forgive weakness. That’s the one thing. That’s not a partisan point. It’s human nature. Nero is the one Roman emperor whose name we still remember. He abandoned his nation in a time of crisis. Two thousand years later, we still can’t forgive him.
Donald Trump’s response to these riots, which is ongoing, is the singular test of his presidency.
What Americans want most is an end to this chaos. They want their cities to be saved. They want this to stop immediately. If the president doesn’t stop it, he will lose in November. The left will blame him for the atrocities they encouraged. Many voters will agree. Donald Trump is the president. Presidents save countries. That’s their job. That’s why we hire them.
Some key advisors around Trump don’t seem to understand the gravity of this. “No matter what happens,” they’ll tell you, “Our voters aren’t going anywhere. The trailer parks are rock solid. What choice do they have? They’ve got to vote for us.”
Jared Kushner, for one, has made that point out loud. No one has more contempt for Trump’s voters than Kushner does, and no one expresses it more frequently.
In 2016, Donald Trump ran as a law and order candidate. His views remain fundamentally unchanged today. But Trump’s famously sharp instincts, the ones that won him the presidency, have been subverted at every level by Kushner: on immigration, on foreign policy, and especially on law enforcement.
As crime in this country rises, Kushner has led a highly aggressive effort to let more criminals out of prison and back out on to the street. This is reckless, but it’s happening. At times, the president seems aware he’s being led in the wrong direction. He often derides Kushner as a liberal. Kushner is.
But Kushner has convinced the president that throwing open the prisons is the key to winning African-American votes in the fall — and that those votes are essential to his reelection. Several times over the past few days, the president has signaled that he’d like to crack down on rioters. If you have watched him, you believe it. Every time, he’s been talked about out of it by Jared Kushner, and by aides Kushner has hired and controls. Kushner’s assumption, apparently, is that African-Americans voters like looting. That’s wrong. Normal Americans of all colors hate looting. Obviously. Why wouldn’t they hate looting? They’re decent people.
So what are the lessons of all we’ve seen over the past five days? America will change because of this. What can we learn from it? What should we demand?
The first thing to know is that we can no longer accept race-baiting from our leaders. Never. That has become so common that we barely notice it. But it’s dividing and destroying the country. We should make them stop. Yesterday, for example, Mayor Jenny Durkin of Seattle tweeted this, and we’re quoting: “I want to acknowledge that much of the violence and destruction, both here in Seattle and across the country, has been instigated and perpetuated by white men,” quote. Is that factually true? Who knows? Who cares?
The skin color of criminals is irrelevant to how we prosecute the crimes they commit. It must be. Otherwise, we’re committing the bigotry we claim to abhor. Yet everywhere on television and social media, prominent people are now talking like this. Not just a few crackpots — thousands of people. They’re amplifying race hatred at the very moment we need it least when it’s the most dangerous.
Almost nothing hurts America more than this. If you’re worried about the rise of extremism here — and you should be — this kind of insanity is absolutely certain to cause it. And let’s be clear: When we say extremism, we’re not talking about unconventional views that get you bounced off Twitter, or scolded by the corporate HR department. We mean actual extremism, where people espouse violence against other people and come to believe their racial identity is the most important thing about them. At this moment, no matter what they claim, there isn’t a huge amount of that in this country, thank God. Most people just think of themselves as Americans. But if the left keeps talking like this, there definitely will be, and soon. You don’t want to live here when that happens. We should demand they stop.
Enforcing the law is not white supremacy. Insisting that everyone in the country follow the same rules isn’t racism. In fact, it’s the answer to racism. It’s equality, equality under the law. It’s the one thing we must defend. If we don’t, it’s over. Things fall apart. Weakness incites aggression. That’s true in nature. It’s every bit as true in human society. Our leaders are weak. Predators know it. That’s why this is happening. If you let people spraypaint obscenities on city hall, pretty soon they are overturning cop cars. If you put up with that, they’ll come right through the front door of the police precinct and burn it down. Next thing you know, they’re beating people to death in shopping malls. And then what? What happens the next time the mob doesn’t like something? What will the mob demand next? Let’s hope we never find out because we’re close.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor