Fox News host Tucker Carlson divided supporters of Donald Trump by on Thursday calling out one of the president's campaign lawyers over her claims of electoral fraud.
The windup: Carlson dedicated his show's opening monologue to a news conference hours earlier during which a Trump campaign legal team laid out its case that the 2020 election had been "rigged" to stop the president from winning.
According to Carlson, Rudy Giuliani, the head of the team and Trump's personal attorney, had "raised legitimate questions" about fraudulent ballots and vote-counting and had "pointed to what appeared to be real wrongdoing."
Carlson also said he took seriously allegations by Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell that voting machines provided by a company called Dominion has been used to change millions of votes for the president and to swing the election for Democrat Joe Biden.
- "What Powell was describing would amount to the single greatest crime in American history," he said. "Democracy destroyed. The end of our centuries-old system of self-government."
Tucker Carlson calls out Sidney Powell, saying he asked her for evidence to support her election fraud claims, but "she never sent us any evidence despite a lot of requests, polite requests, not a page."— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) November 20, 2020
"When we kept pressing she got angry and told us to stop contacting her." pic.twitter.com/IOlOdhp6MJ
- "When we kept pressing, she got angry and told us to stop contacting her. When we checked with others around the Trump campaign, people in positions of authority, they told us Powell has never given them any evidence either. Nor did she provide any today at the press conference," Carlson said.
- "Powell did say that electronic voting is dangerous, and she's right. We're with here there. But she never demonstrated that a single actual vote was moved illegitimately by software from one candidate to another. Not one."
Carlson said he was publicly challenging Powell because "the truth" is ultimately "all that matters" and the key to restoring faith in American democracy.
- "It's our only hope. It's our best defense. And it's how we're different from them. We care what's true, and we know you care, too. That's why we told you," he said.
- Carlson did not directly address Trump's promotion of similar conspiracy theories about Dominion or about other supposed efforts to steal the election from him.
The reaction: Late on Thursday night, Powell, a former federal prosecutor, hit back at Carlson in a statement to the Washington Examiner.
- She also retweeted, and then deleted, a post that said, "Tonight Tucker threw one of his Fox Globalist directed temper tantrums."
In an appearance on Fox Business on Wednesday morning, Powell denied to host Maria Bartiromo that she had responded angrily to Carlson's requests for evidence, saying she had in fact offered him a relevant affidavit and expert witness.
- "But he was very insulting, demanding, and rude, and I told him not to contact me again, in those terms," Powell added.
Some pro-Trump commentators sided with Powell against Carlson, who is generally supportive of the president, suggesting the host was trying to play the role of a judge or had somehow been "compromised" along with Fox News.
Tucker Carlson demanded that Sidney Powell present her evidence of Dominion’s electronic frauds on his nightly show rather than roll it out in a courtroom. She’s a great lawyer, he’s not. But he keeps his high paid FOX gig by following their script while feigning integrity. https://t.co/ACHqBuxwJY— Tim Canova (@Tim_Canova) November 20, 2020
It’s basically Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell and a few others versus a massive swarm on the other side. This is like the movie “300.” A few Spartans in a narrow pass against tens of thousands of caterwauling Persians. My money is on the Spartans #Election2020results— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) November 19, 2020
A lot of conservatives think that the people who've been pandering to them for four years are the trustworthy ones, and the people who've tried to be honest and taken hits because of it are the con artists. It's exactly backwards. You couldn't be more wrong.— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) November 20, 2020
- "To insinuate that Republican and Democratic candidates paid to throw off this election is absolutely outrageous,” Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa — who does not yet acknowledge Biden as president-elect — told Fox News’ Guy Benson on Thursday night.
- "I’ve worn our nation’s uniform to protect the values and freedoms that our nation espouses and to have that accusation just offhandedly thrown out there just to confuse our voters across the United States, I think that is absolutely wrong.”