Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson fired back at critics that accuse him of being “a pawn” of Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview released Friday.
In a Thursday interview with Axios, Carlson defended himself against critics who have accused him of standing by Russia as the nation has amassed over 100,000 troops along the border of Ukraine. The outlet dived into the Republican Party’s recent refrain from using “tough-on-Russia rhetoric” with worries that their support for sending American resources and troops to Ukraine will negatively impact them in the 2022 midterm elections.
“I just want to go on the record and say I could care less if they call me a pawn of Putin,” Carlson told Axios. “It’s too stupid. I don’t speak Russian. I’ve never been to Russia. I’m not that interested in Russia. All I care about is the fortunes of the United States because I have four children who live here.”
“I really hope that Republican primary voters are ruthless about this,” he continued. The Fox News host accused Republicans lawmakers of being more concerned with Ukraine’s border over the U.S. (RELATED: ‘Why Should The Average American Care?’: Tucker Goes Head To Head With GOP Congressman Who Wants Troops In Ukraine)
Critics from both sides of the political aisle blamed Carlson of influencing his viewers of supporting Russia and directly criticizing lawmakers that stand in support with Ukraine.
“My office is now getting calls from folks who say they watch Tucker Carlson and are upset that we’re not siding with Russia in its threats to invade Ukraine, and who want me to support Russia’s ‘reasonable’ positions,” Democratic New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski said via Twitter Monday.
“Sadly, this is true. @TuckerCarlson loves him some Putin,” Republican Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger tweeted.
Sadly, this is true. @TuckerCarlson loves him some Putin. https://t.co/HHi7R0RR84
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) January 25, 2022
Russia has blamed the Northern Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for disrespecting its “red lines” and for its influence in Eastern Europe, Business Insider reported. In a December op-ed, Carlson said that Russia’s disdain for NATO is in connection to its potential involvement in Ukraine having the ability to destroy its Sevastopol Naval Base.
“In the words of Russia scholar Richard Sakwa, if Russia lost the Sevastopol Naval Base, it would be ‘the biggest military geopolitical defeat of Russia in the last thousand years,” Carlson wrote. “So for Vladimir Putin that’s unacceptable. It’s a disaster. He cannot let it happen, he will not let it happen.”
The Daily Caller co-founder further said that while Putin “is a killer,” the U.S. “would gain precisely nothing” from intervention in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
President Joe Biden said he would consider personally sanctioning Putin if Russia invades Ukraine on Tuesday. The president said a Russian invasion of Ukraine “would be the largest invasion since World War II.”
The administration placed 8,500 troops on heightened alert amidst Russia’s ongoing increase of troops on the border as part of a “NATO operation.”