Among the legal documents released earlier this month as part of the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems, was a text transcript from Jan. 4, 2021, in which Carlson said he despised Trump. “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights,” Carlson texted. “I truly can’t wait.”
“I hate him passionately,” he added.
The Fox News host was asked about the messages during an appearance on 77WABC’s “Bo Snerdley’s Rush Hour” radio show Tuesday.
“I spent four years defending his policies, and I am going to defend them again tonight,” Carlson told Snerdley. “And actually, and I’m pretty straightforward, I love Trump, like as a person. I think Trump is funny and insightful.”
“And I said this to Trump when he called me, you know, all wounded about those texts,” he continued. “That was a moment in time where I was absolutely infuriated. ... And those were all grabbed completely illegitimately in my opinion in this court case, which I guess I’m not allowed to talk about.”
Asked about private texts in which he said he hated Trump "passionately," Tucker Carlson said: "I love Trump."
According to Carlson, he doesn’t actually hate Trump, and does believe his election lies. He claimed he was just angry with the former president because he felt “humiliated” by one of Trump’s campaign staffers who fed him the names of “dead voters who had voted” ― which he repeated on air ― some of whom turned out to be alive.
Carlson’s defense likely doesn’t just serve to appease Trump. It also happens to rebut the core tenet of the Dominion lawsuit ― that the conservative network’s hosts gave airtime to Trump’s 2020 election conspiracies despite knowing them to be false.
Carlson’s excuse also fails to address other disparaging and doubtful messages sent in private about Trump, his allies and their false claims about the 2020 election. On Jan. 6, 2021, for example, Carlson texted his producer calling Trump a “demonic force” and “a destroyer” after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. And on Nov. 17, 2020, he said Trump attorney Sidney Powell was a “fucking bitch” who was lying.
Meanwhile, Carlson and his colleagues continued to defend Trump on air, in what appeared to be an effort to mollify the former president, his base and Fox News viewers.