Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night called the threat of white supremacy in America a “hoax” and “not a real problem,” saying it is being used to divide the country in the wake of a mass shooting in El Paso where the gunman allegedly wrote a manifesto speaking of an “invasion” of immigrants.
Carlson compared the rise in white supremacy and white nationalist violence in recent years to the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and saying it is being used to divide the country.
“This is a hoax, just like the Russian hoax,” Carlson said during a segment on his program. “It’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.”
Carlson added that white supremacy is “not a real problem in America,” and that the case against white supremacy was a made-up “talking point” used by Democrats to “help them in this election cycle.”
“If you were to assemble a list, a hierarchy of concerns, of problems this country faces, where would white supremacy be on the list? Right up there with Russia, probably,” he said. “The combined membership of every white supremacist organization in this country would be able to fit inside a college football stadium.”
Political leaders from both parties have warned about white supremacy since the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas that left 22 people dead. The suspect in the shooting allegedly wrote a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto speaking of an “invasion” of immigrants.
Former President Obama warned in a statement released Monday of the dangers of white supremacy.
Obama wrote that there were indications it followed a disturbing trend of “troubled individuals who embrace racist ideologies and see themselves obligated to act violently to preserve white supremacy.”
He called on Americans to “reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred and normalizes racist sentiment.”
The FBI has also warned of the dangers of white supremacy.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said last month that the agency has made about 100 domestic terrorism-related arrests since October, and the majority were tied to white supremacy.
Carlson’s comments immediately drew backlash, with CNN’s Don Lemon playing the clip on his show shortly after, taking a long pause and then asking his guest, “Was that not the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard”?
Conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg also fired back against Carlson and hoped his argument isn’t picked up by President Trump ahead of his El Paso visit. Goldberg wrote, “If Trump apes these talking points, it’ll be awful for the country and devastating for Trump’s presidency.”
Trump on Wednesday morning tweeted a quote from Carlson’s show, suggesting he saw the white supremacy segment.