Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson sparred with Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz Thursday after the senator labeled the Jan. 6 Capitol riot a “violent terrorist attack” on the Senate floor.
Carlson confronted Cruz over his remarks made at a Senate Rules Committee hearing with U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger on the eve of the Capitol riot’s one-year anniversary. The Texas senator called the Jan. 6, 2021, incident “a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol” and honored law enforcement officials’ “incredible courage.”
“You never use words carelessly and yet you called this a terror attack when by no definition was it a terror attack. That’s a lie. You told that lie on purpose and I’m wondering why you did,” Carlson said.
“The way I phrased things yesterday, it was sloppy and it was frankly dumb—” Cruz said.
Carlson interrupted saying he does “not buy” the senator’s explanation, believing that he intentionally used the word “terrorist” to describe the riot.
“So, Tucker, as a result of my sloppy phrasing, it’s caused a lot of people to misunderstand what I meant,” the senator said. “Let me tell you what I meant to say. What I was referring to are the limited number of people who engaged in violent attacks against police officers. I think you and I both agree that if you assault a police officer, you should go to jail.”
Following his appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Cruz used a similar explanation via Twitter Thursday repeating that he used “a dumb choice of words” during the Senate hearing.
Yesterday, I used a dumb choice of words and unfortunately a lot of people are misunderstanding what I meant. pic.twitter.com/vWCjFnA4t3
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 7, 2022
The senator said that his remarks did not reference protesters objecting to the 2020 presidential election given that he led the effort, along with 10 other Republican senators, in objecting to the certification of the electoral votes and pressed the Election Commission to investigate evidence of voter fraud. (RELATED: Rep. Ocasio-Cortez: Ted Cruz ‘Almost Had Me Murdered’)
He further said it would be “ridiculous” to label peaceful protesters opposing the election results as terrorists, repeating his previous claim that he referred to individuals who attacked law enforcement.
Carlson said the senator’s use of the word “terrorist” is “playing into” the left’s ability to characterize the rioters as “foreign combatants.” The Texas senator told Carlson he has “repeatedly denounced” terms such as “insurrection” to describe the riot and is fighting against Democrats’ alleged attempts to depict Republicans as “Nazis.”
“What I normally say is ‘violence is wrong, peaceful protest is right.’ If you engage in violence you should be prosecuted, if you are speaking, you have a right to speak. I say that all the time, I didn’t say it in that snippet,” Cruz said.
Cruz further said he, along with other senators, have attempted to seek information out of the Department of Justice as to their alleged unfair treatment of Jan. 6 rioters over Antifa members and individuals engaging in violence during the summer of 2020.
In the days following the riot, President Joe Biden referred to the Jan. 6 rioters as “domestic terrorists” in a Jan. 8 statement. FBI Director Christopher Wray also labeled the riot as “domestic terrorism” at a Mar. 2 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.