The Slatest

In Newly Unearthed 2006 Radio Clip, Tucker Carlson Fantasized About a Racist Presidential Candidate

Tucker Carlson speaks into a microphone as he sits on a stage.
Tucker Carlson
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

On Monday, a day after publishing audio recordings of Tucker Carlson making misogynistic and generally awful comments about women, Media Matters for America, a self-described watchdog of conservative media, released a number of racist and white nationalist comments from the Fox News host. In his comments, Carlson credited white men for “creating civilization,” argued immigrants need to be either “hot or really smart” to be worthwhile, and called Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys” who “aren’t civilized” because they “don’t use toilet paper or forks.”

But one of the most shocking exchanges unearthed by Media Matters for America, which mined Carlson’s appearance on the shock-jock program “The Bubba the Love Sponge Show” from 2006 to 2009, came when Carlson began speculating about a potentially successful strategy for Republicans:

TUCKER CARLSON: [Y]ou know, the bottom line is the issue of security—who’s going to protect the country against, you know, the Muslim lunatics who want to hurt us—is the only thing the Republicans have left. They can’t claim that they’re, you know, the party of fiscal restraint anymore. They’re big spenders, and that’s obvious. But that one argument, “Vote for us, we’ll protect you,” that still works, because on—you know, let’s be totally real. Nancy Pelosi’s going to keep you safe while you sleep? I don’t think so. She’s not.

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE: So—so, now listen, can the Democrats … not, you know, responsibly come up with some type of game plan where they can make … people feel safe as well?

CARLSON: [O]h, they could, absolutely. If there were a Democrat to come out in the 2008 election and say, “You know what the problem is? It’s Islamic extremism. It’s not terror, it’s not some, you know, indefinable threat out there. It’s these lunatic Muslims who are behaving like animals, and I’m going to kill as many of them as I can if you elect me.” If a Democrat were to say that, he would be elected king, OK?

THE LOVE SPONGE: So … if the Democrat basically had the same stance as you and say[s] “Well I, as a Democrat, can assure you that my party is going to be proactive in fighting these radical assholes.” Don’t you think that guy would be money?

CARLSON: Yeah, but I think he’d need to say, “Look, I’m a bigot. OK, I’m a bigot. I don’t like Islamic extremists. Like if you are really heavily into Islam, I really—I’m sorry, I just don’t—I don’t care for you that much. And I don’t care what that sounds like, you can call me a racist, you can call me whatever the fuck you want.”

THE LOVE SPONGE: And at this juncture, you could say that and not catch a lot of shit for it.

CARLSON: You certainly could. I’d vote for you if you said that. And I think that most Americans would.

When one of the co-hosts of the show then suggested to Carlson he was asking for a violently racist presidential candidate, Carlson at first hesitated to agree but ultimately admitted he was “on to something.”

CO-HOST: So, basically we need a racist president. “We need to get these Mexicans out of here, and the Islam. Let’s kill all the Muslims.”

CARLSON: Well, I don’t think—

CO-HOST: We need that.

CARLSON: I—you know, I think that you’re onto something. I mean, not someone who’s like a Klansman or anything, but someone who’s totally unbound by P.C. rules, who will just say whatever the hell he wants. … You know, someone who really will—and everyone claims, “Oh, I say it like it is.” But nobody actually does. The guy who does, who says, “I’m unabashedly pro-American. Fuck the French. Who cares what they think? The Belgians? They don’t like it, they can pound sand.” You know what I mean? That guy is going to get elected.

Given Carlson defends President Trump on his show every night, it’s not that surprising that he would have an openness to a presidential candidate who cultivated a base through racial resentment. But the brazenness of the comments are still shocking, and his other comments from the clips support the idea that Tucker Carlson at the time espoused openly white supremacist ideas. The worst examples came from the way he talked about Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq, as in this clip from 2008:

BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE: Fine people of Canada, please understand that Tucker is a very good friend of mine, but I in no way, shape, or form share his views of how he feels about people from Canada. I love Canada. They’re great people up there. Tucker feels that you guys are a bunch of assholes.

TUCKER CARLSON: I totally disagree. If I didn’t like Canada, I wouldn’t consider it worth invading. I mean, Iraq is a crappy place filled with a bunch of, you know, semiliterate primitive monkeys–that’s why it wasn’t worth invading.

Or this clip, from 2006:

CO-HOST: Well, here’s the deal, everybody. These Arabs in Iraq aren’t playing. We’re the only ones that are playing.

TUCKER CARLSON: They’re also so just awful. Just awful.

CO-HOST: They’re animals, dude. They are.

CARLSON: I hate the war. You know, I’m not defending the war in any way, but I just have zero sympathy for them or their culture. A culture where people just don’t use toilet paper or forks.

CO-HOST: And the way they treat women—you know, I agree with you. Their culture is – but you’re in their homeland, and you’re over there as an American, who they hate, and they want nothing more than the Americans off of their soil, so they’re not going to play games.

CARLSON: The second we—they can just shut the fuck up and obey, is my view. And, you know, the second we leave, they’re going to be calling for us to return because they can’t govern themselves.

In a separate post Monday, Media Matters published a conversation between Carlson and Bubba the Love sponge in which the two use homophobic slurs.

Carlson, who was hired by Fox News in 2009 after working at MSNBC, was a weekly guest on the show from 2006 to 2011. On his 8 p.m. show Monday, airing around the same time as the second round of audio clips was published, Carlson gave a heated six-minute speech aimed at the “digital mob” and asserting that Fox News stood by him. “Toughness is a rare quality in a TV network, and we’re grateful for that,” he said. “[W]e’ve always apologized when we’re wrong, and we’ll continue to do that. But we will never bow to the mob, ever, no matter what.”