Following days of speculation, Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Kremlin officials confirmed this week that Carlson has interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin, a controversial one-on-one that will reportedly mark Putin’s first time being interviewed by a western journalist since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago, though Carlson has routinely criticized Ukraine and praised Putin for years.
Carlson questioned why Putin is perceived as “such a bad guy” in the U.S., saying he’s “not Saddam Hussein, he’s not Adolf Hitler,” arguing “the Left sees Putin behind every problem and they’re trying to convince us to see him too.”
said he was “rooting for Russia” in its burgeoning conflict with Ukraine in an episode of his show, though he later clarified he was joking and really “rooting for America.”Carlson
told Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) that the U.S. should “probably take the side of Russia” in a potential dispute between Moscow and Ukraine, five years after Russia illegally annexed the Crimea peninsula.Carlson
argued Ukraine was “not a democracy” by American terms, repeating claims Putin has made against Ukraine, with Carlson claiming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrested a political opponent and shut down opposition media outlets (Carlson appeared to be referencing the arrest of pro-Kremlin political leader Viktor Medvedchuk on treason charges in 2022, and the signing of a controversial law allowing the government to regulate media groups in December 2022).Just weeks before Russia launched its invasion, Carlson
Carlson also defended Putin on his then-top-rated Fox News primetime show, asking sarcastically if Putin has “ever called [him] a racist” or “threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him,” saying the answer is a resounding no.
questioned rounds of U.S. military aid to Ukraine, including during an episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” asking, “where did the money go?” and baselessly claiming it “went to Zelensky and his wife” (The U.S. has approved $75 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since the start of the war).Carlson also repeatedly
speculated, without evidence, that the explosion of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline, which feeds Russian gas to Europe, could have been carried out with help from the U.S. government, a claim the Biden administration vehemently rejected.Carlson
In the week after Carlson was fired from Fox News, multiple Russian outlets appeared to attempt to lure in Carlson, with RT (formerly Russia Today) tweeting at Carlson to “always question more with RT” and Russian outlet Channel One asking Carlson to “come join us,” saying he does not “have to be afraid of taking the piss out of Biden here”—Carlson later denied any partnership with Russian media.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov chimed in on Carlson’s departure from Fox, calling his ousting “curious news,” and arguing “the wealth of views in the American information space has suffered as a result,” according to a CNN translation.
impose sanctions on religious organizations tied to Russia).In an episode of his new show on X, formerly known as Twitter, Carlson described Zelensky—who is Jewish—as “sweaty and rat-like,” a remark condemned by Jewish advocates, and claimed Zelensky is a “persecutor of Christians” (Zelensky had signed a degree in 2022 to
struck back at reports of Ukrainian resistance in Russia’s war and indications that Russian troops were struggling in the ongoing war, arguing that “by any actual reality-based measure, Vladimir Putin is not losing the war in Ukraine” but in fact winning and that “Joe Biden looks at that and says we won’t stop until you proffer an unconditional surrender.”Carlson
denied speculation of a collaboration with Russian state TV outlets on an agreement to broadcast his online show, calling reports “Russia-related bulls**t” and “absurd” after an ad for “Tucker” TV appeared on Russian outlet Rossiya 24, with Carlson’s representative Arthur Schwartz calling the report “fake news.”Carlson
Carlson confirmed his plans to interview Putin in a video posted on X on Tuesday afternoon, an interview the Kremlin also confirmed Wednesday, saying Carlson’s views on Russia and Ukraine are not “one-sided.” The former Fox News primetime host defended his decision to sit down with Putin, saying “it’s our job” to do so as journalists. Facing controversy over the interview, Carlson argued that “most Americans are not informed” on the war and are “paying for much of it in ways they might not fully yet perceive.”
What To Watch For
Carlson has not said when he plans to release his interview with Putin on social media, though he said on Tuesday that billionaire X owner Elon Musk promised him “not to suppress or block” it once it’s posted.