Fox News host Tucker Carlson discusses 'Populism and the Right' during the National Review Institute's Ideas Summit at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Tucker Carlson devoted a segment of his show Thursday to complaining about cops exercising political power, a curious new grievance for someone who’s complained incessantly about racial justice protests and defunding the police.
Calling Capitol Police “an armed political action committee,” Carlson claimed that the U.S. Capitol Police and Democrats were launching a “new war on terror” on Fox News viewers. He also downplayed the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, which ended in five deaths, as “trespassing.” The target of Carlson’s ire was an anonymous letter apparently authored by members of the Capitol police slamming Republicans for opposing the proposed commission to investigate the Capitol riot January 6. While a bill to form the commission passed the House easily this week, it did so with only a few dozen Republican votes after GOP leaders opposed it. The letter signed by “Proud Members of the United States Capitol Police” and using the official letterhead expresses “profound disappointment” with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for opposing the commission. “It is inconceivable that some of the Members we protect, would downplay the events of January 6th,” the letter says.
“Police officers anonymously demanding that the people they protect vote a certain way on a specific piece of legislation?” Carlson said. “Haven’t seen that before.” Perhaps that’s because usually they’re not so explicit about it.
U.S. Capitol Police later forcefully denied that the letter was official, questioning its legitimacy and stressing the agency does “NOT take positions on legislation.” The letter was written by a single cop who said it represented the view of dozens of Capitol police officers, CNN reported Wednesday.“It needed to be out there. It needed to be done,” the anonymous officer told CNN. But Carlson said the letter nonetheless represented a grave threat to democracy. “That’s a ransom note. Imagine getting it from one of your own bodyguards,” Carlson offered, a highly relatable hypothetical to your average primetime television viewer. “It might be enough to make you rethink your position, which is of course the point of it.”
“The Capitol Hill police are now effectively an armed political action committee. So you gotta ask, what other partisan demands will they make in the future?” he asked. Carlson then dismissed the insurrection, echoing Rep. Paul Gosar and other Republicans who’ve defended the rioters as persecuted patriots. Carlson particularly took issue with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer calling it the “greatest attempted insurrection since the Civil War.”
“So how many of the participants in that insurrection have been charged with insurrecting, with sedition, with treason? Zero by the Biden Justice Department,” Carlson said. “Instead, they’ve been charged with effectively trespassing.” The more than 400 people arrested in connection with the riot have variously been charged with conspiracy, assault, and making death threats, just to name a few.Carlson also noted the “virtually identical language” in this bill and the one to create the 9/11 Commission.“This is the new war on terror,” said Carlson. “But this war isn’t aimed at al Qaeda or ISIS or any foreign power. This war is aimed at you, and anyone else who stands in the way of the Democratic Party’s agenda.”The bill to create the commission is now in the Senate. Separately on Thursday, the House narrowly passed a nearly $2 billion bill to beef up Capitol security. The bill had unified opposition from Republicans as well as a few defections from the Democrats—namely one of Carlson’s favorite targets, Rep. Ilhan Omar and The Squad. “A bill that pours $1.9 billion into increased police surveillance and force without addressing the underlying threats of organized and violent white supremacy, radicalization and disinformation that led to this attack will not prevent it from happening again,” Omar said in a joint statement with Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Cori Bush.