“Dishonesty…Is Always an Indicator of Weakness”: Tucker Carlson on How He Brought His Coronavirus Message to Mar-a-Lago
Though it’s hard to believe, Fox News host Tucker Carlson made his very first visit to Mar-a-Lago only a week and a half ago. The resort was hosting a birthday party for former Fox host Kimberly Guilfoyle, also attended by Florida congressman Matt Gaetz, and Donald Trump Jr., —but Carlson wasn’t there for the party. He didn’t even know about it, he says. Instead he’d come with an urgent message for the president. He was there to pull Donald Trump aside and speak frankly about the dangers of the coronavirus epidemic, the gravity of which had not yet fully registered with Trump or his White House.
For his troubles, Carlson was actually exposed to the coronavirus, along with Senators Lindsey Graham and Rick Scott, all of whom had been in the room with infected Brazilian officials attending the party.
Trump had ample warning weeks ago that this crisis was coming and had mostly ignored it. On January 22, he told CNBC that the coronavirus problem was “totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” Five days after, former vice president Joe Biden wrote an op-ed in USA Today, making the observation that “Trump’s demonstrated failures of judgment and his repeated rejection of science make him the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health challenge.”
Tucker Carlson started talking more extensively about the virus on his Fox News show on February 3, spurred, he says, by harrowing reports emerging from China. Trump, it seems, was the last to know. A White House adviser arranged for Carlson to meet with Trump so the TV personality could, in essence, penetrate Trump’s bubble. They talked for two hours. The oncoming pandemic, Carlson told him, was an existential threat to the nation. To translate it into Trumpian language, an existential threat to his reelection. Mike Pence joined at one point. Carlson won’t discuss the president’s reaction on the record, but suffice it to say that Trump’s denial went on for another week while the pandemic ballooned and right-wing allies—many of them on Fox News—suggested the virus was a liberal hoax and members of Congress, as recently as three days ago, told people to continue going out in public as if nothing was happening.Post too long. Click here to view the full text.