Fox News host Tucker Carlson is hedging his bets. He appears to be condemning Donald Trump in an op-ed he co-wrote for The Daily Caller:
“Trump should not have been on the phone with a foreign head of state encouraging another country to investigate his political opponent, Joe Biden. Some Republicans are trying, but there’s no way to spin this as a good idea.”
CNN’s Oliver Darcy writes that while Carlson’s words don’t call for impeachment, “the condemnation of the call is still a break from a lot of conservative media and Republicans.”
But wait. Just hours after those words were printed Carlson was back to his normal sycophant behavior. As one person on Twitter put it, “Tucker is still drinking the Trump kool-aid.” And Trump noticed. The President actually posted the monologue from Carlson’s Friday night show, where Tucker did his usual thing, blaming Democrats, the media and Hillary Clinton for Trump’s mess.
So why is Carlson saying one thing in print, then espousing another theory on his show? MSNBC contributor Sam Seder wrote it’s an “escape hatch Tucker Carlson is constructing for himself.” This way if Trump gets impeached or leaves office, Carlson can say he saw it coming and point to this one lonely op-ed. And here’s another theory from NBC’s Benjy Sarlin:
There’s a pretty massive tactical signal here, which is to pivot away from defending the behavior (which has been a brutal slog so far for those who’ve tried) and instead toward arguing impeachment goes too far.