Newly released text messages and emails are revealing the real Tucker Carlson
Fox News host Tucker Carlson's true feelings about former President Donald Trump have been revealed.
On camera, Carlson defended Trump and repeated his lies about the 2020 election.
But behind the scenes, Carlson said he hated Trump and called him a "demonic force," per new court docs.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson has long been one of former President Donald Trump's most passionate and stalwart defenders on camera.
But behind the scenes, the primetime star vented about how "passionately" he hated Trump and said he couldn't wait until Trump left office.
That's according to text messages and emails featured in a trove of new court documents in Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News. The suit alleges that to drive up its ratings and win back dissatisfied viewers, Fox News pushed the nonsense conspiracy theory that Dominion helped rig the 2020 election in Joe Biden's favor.
Carlson is one of Fox's highest-rated stars and rakes in $10 million a year. His nightly monologues typically consist of racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric, and complaints that middle class people, particularly whites, are being sold out by wealthy, coastal elites.
The new court documents reveal a different side of Carlson. They show that even as he publicly defended Trump and backed his election lies, Carlson privately bashed the president, saying in private messages that he despised Trump, thought he was a "demonic force," and couldn't wait until the day he didn't have to cover Trump.
Some of the exchanges show Carlson ridiculing Trump advisors whose views he would later air, and they also reveal how keenly attuned the primetime host was to appealing to the network's pro-Trump viewer base. In one instance, he went as far as to push for a colleague's firing, warning that she was hurting Fox's share price by fact-checking Trump's lies about the 2020 election.
In a statement, Fox said Dominion's lawsuit was a "flagrant" attack on the 1st Amendment meant to "silence the press."
'I hate him passionately'
In one exchange, Carlson fantasized about not having to cover Trump after the 2020 election, saying that he "passionately" hated Trump.
"We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights," Carlson texted an unnamed confidant on January 4, 2021 — two days before the deadly Capitol riot, according to court documents.
"I want nothing more," the person responded. "It does feel very close. I imagine things will get nice starting around mid-February."
Carlson texted back: "I hate him passionately," according to the court papers. "I blew up at [then-Trump advisor] Peter Navarro today in frustration. I actually like Peter. But I can't handle much more of this."
Navarro, like others in Trump's orbit, pushed false claims that Biden's election was marred by fraud and falsely suggested his inauguration could be delayed, which would be unconstitutional.
In the text exchange, Carlson did show his personal support for Trump's baseless election fraud claims, saying he had "no doubt there was fraud."
However, he said Trump and lawyers who supported his election conspiracy theories, like Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, had "discredited their own case."
Meanwhile, on a segment that aired on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on the same day he texted that he hated Trump, Carlson defended Trump and questioned how Biden could get more votes than any past US presidential candidate.
"Did Americans suddenly decide they wanted to be led by Joe Biden?" Carlson asked his audience, adding, "No, that's not what happened. Not at all. What happened was the people in charge rigged the game."
Carlson calls Trump a 'demonic force'
Carlson called Trump "a demonic force" in a text message late on January 6, 2021, the day of the Capitol insurrection, according to court documents.
As pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, Carlson texted his producer, Alex Pfeiffer, saying that Trump was "a demonic force, a destroyer. But he's not going to destroy us."
Trump is 'the undisputed world champion' of destroying things
Carlson was also one of several Fox News stars who privately criticized the network's decision to call the state of Arizona for Biden on election night 2020. Two days after the election, Carlson texted Pfeiffer warning that the network's Arizona call for Biden — which was soon confirmed by all the other major networks — could wreak havoc on Fox's ratings.
"We worked really hard to build what we have," Carlson texted his producer, Pfeiffer, on November 5, 2020, according to the court filings.
Referring to the decision desk staffers who made the Arizona call, Carlson texted: "Those fuckers are destroying our credibility. It enrages me."
He added that he had spoken with fellow prime-time commentators Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity minutes earlier and that they were "highly upset."
Carlson said in the messages that Trump was good at "destroying things."
"He's the undisputed world champion of that. He could easily destroy us if we play it wrong," he wrote, according to the court documents.
At another point in the same day, Carlson texted that "we've got to be incredibly careful right now. We could get hurt." It's unclear who the recipient of the message was.
Carlson and Hannity wanted a Fox reporter fired
Carlson and Hannity discussed trying to have a Fox News reporter fired in November 2020 after she publicly pushed back against then-President Trump's election lies, according to the court papers.
"Please get her fired. Seriously...What the fuck?" Carlson wrote in a text to his colleagues about Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich, according to the filing. "I'm actually shocked...It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It's measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke."
Fox News hosts privately accepted that Trump had lost the election
Internal emails and text messages released as part of Dominion's lawsuit revealed that while Fox News hosts privately accepted that Trump had lost the election, the network continued to air pro-Trump conspiracy theories about election fraud.
Carlson said in a text message on November 17, 2020 that Powell was "lying" and called her a "fucking bitch," the court documents show.
"You keep telling your viewers that millions of votes were changed by the software. I hope you prove that very soon," Carlson texted Powell that day. "You've convinced them that Trump will win. If you don't have conclusive evidence of fraud at that scale, it's a cruel and reckless thing to keep saying."
Two days later, Carlson grilled Powell about her election fraud claims on his show.
Rudy Giuliani's 'desperate and deranged' post-election press conference
The newly-released texts show that Carlson mocked Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani's infamous 2020 post-election press conference where hair dye trickled down his head.
While the press conference was underway on November 19, 2020, Carlson and his executive producer, Justin Wells, ridiculed the former New York mayor.
Wells called the presser "desperate and deranged at the same time," and Carlson replied with images of Giuliani with hair dye dripping down his face.
"My mind is blown," Carlson wrote, according to the court documents. On his show later that day, Carlson discussed the press conference, telling his audience that "how you viewed it depended largely on who you voted for."
"Trump voters seemed hopeful that it might change the election results," Carlson told his viewers. "The left and virtually every single person in the news media immediately dismissed it as an embarrassing clown show as well as a threat to the republic."
"The very same people who swore that [Russian President] Vladimir Putin's agents controlled the US government called it a conspiracy theory," he said, adding, "Of course they did."
Dominion sued Fox News for defamation in March 2021, alleging that "as a result of the false accusations broadcast by Fox into millions of American homes, Dominion has suffered unprecedented harm and its employees' lives have been put in danger."
"Fox took a small flame and turned it into a forest fire," the lawsuit said.
A Fox News spokesperson said in a statement that "Dominion and its private equity owners join a long line of public figures and corporations across the country that have long tried to silence the press and this lawsuit from Staple Street Capital-owned Dominion is nothing more than another flagrant attack on the First Amendment."
"FOX News will continue to fiercely protect the free press as a ruling in favor of Dominion would have grave consequences for journalism across this country," the statement said.
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