Tucker Carlson is a perfect complement to President Trump. The Fox News host is intellectual, polished and composed, while the president is emotional, coarse and volatile.
Remember “Luther,” Barack Obama's anger translator, played by Keegan-Michael Key? Carlson plays the opposite role for Trump. He makes Trump's views more palatable for viewers who want to agree with their Republican president but are sometimes put off by the delivery. Carlson also happens to host the top-rated show in cable news, becoming the new king of the genre since Bill O'Reilly's ouster.
Carlson was in peak form Tuesday after Trump held an impromptu news conference in which he again suggested that white supremacists and the counterprotesters who opposed them were equally responsible for violence in Charlottesville over the weekend.
Trump defended participants in a “Unite the Right” demonstration against the removal of a confederate statue. He conceded that “it looked like they had some rough, bad people — neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them” but asserted that “you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest.”
Sure — to innocently march alongside neo-Nazis.
That is a tough position to back, but Carlson shifted viewers' focus away from the president's sympathy for a group full of racists and directed it elsewhere. He blamed the media for the political fallout over Trump's comments. He also rebuked liberal activists, whom he accused of stoking violence and shutting down free speech, and painted them as the “alt-left,” a term popularized on Fox News, most notably by Sean Hannity.
“One thing the president said today deserves more attention than it will likely get,” Carlson said at the top of his opening monologue. “Yesterday a mob tore down a Civil War soldier's memorial in Durham, North Carolina. Police stood idly by, and liberals across the country applauded it. Which statues are next, the president asked today: George Washington? Thomas Jefferson? It's not a joke. Suddenly it's a serious question.”
There are scattered examples of calls to take down monuments to slave-owning Founding Fathers — Carlson went on to cite a few — but there is no evidence of widespread momentum for such changes.
Yet to hear Carlson tell it, American history itself is under attack, and so is the First Amendment. We broke down his show in greater detail, in the video above — an annotation of sorts.
Below is a look at how Trump's talking points on Charlottesville align with Fox News's, more broadly.