'I Made a Huge Mistake': Tucker Carlson Talks Covering Politics, Why He Was Fired, and Donald Trump

Tucker Carlson talks with Russell Brand about why he fired, covering politics, and Donald Trump. (Credit: Russell Brand/Rumble)

When Fox News fired Tucker Carlson on April 24, 2023, the top-rated host’s abrupt departure from the allegedly conservative network not only sent shockwaves through the media world; the political world was rocked, as well. Carlson gave his first interview since being fired by Fox News on Friday. Buckle your seatbelts.

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Carlson sat down with Russell Brand, on his “Stay Free” podcast, and discussed a number of germane issues at length, for almost two hours.

We reported on Friday about a segment of the Brand interview, in which Carlson talked about his interview with the Capitol Police chief with respect to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. But he also talked with Brand about his feelings on covering politics, why he was fired, and his feelings about both former President Donald Trump and 2024 Democrat presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

A fascinating interview, to say the least. Brand kicked it off by asking Carlson how he’s handled being fired from Fox. Carlson said that while he was surprised, he wasn’t shocked.

This is not the first time I’ve been fired. And I think in our business, when you work for a big company in media, and you know, you say what you think, there’s an expectation that you could get fired. So I’ve always had that. And I’ve always tried to take the long view, not just on media, but on life.

All graves go unvisited in the end. I always think. I was surprised. I didn’t, you know, expect to get fired that morning at all in April. So I was shocked, but I wasn’t really shocked. And I wasn’t mad. It’s not my company. And when you work for someone else, that person reserves the right, in fact, has inherently the right, to decide whether you work there or not.

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As for why the top-rated host in cable news was fired, Carlson told Brand he doesn’t really know, and said he wasn’t angry about it. He also wished Fox News well in the future.

And I don’t know why I was fired. I really don’t. I’m not angry about it. You can believe me or not, but I think you can feel that I’m not. And you know, I wish Fox well. There was, you know, ugly leaking that I’m a racist or whatever they leaked. Someone there leaked to the New York Times, but that’s not true. And I think the people who run the company know that’s not true. Actually don’t think they did it. And I’m not mad about it. And I’ve been, I’ve been happy.

While speculation about why and how Carlson left Fox so abruptly ran rampant for weeks, in the end, if he says he has no idea why he was booted, we’re left to either believe him or not. What’s done is done; it’s just been one of those things about which speculators love to speculate.

Brand pressed Carlson on whether he — or Fox — had a specific viewpoint that led to his ouster. Carlson said Fox always allowed him to speak his mind, but he also pointed to a “red line” at the “Fair and Balanced” network on the Russia-Ukraine War.

They didn’t agree with me, of course, I don’t think — but they were always very nice to me. And they always let me say what I want. Not one time did they tell me not to say anything. So I was always grateful to Fox, and I am in retrospect, grateful to Fox for that. So that never changed up until the moment they called me and said, you know, we’re taking the show off the air. […]

The war in Ukraine is a red line for a lot of people in business and politics. And you see it in our politics in the U.S., where the leaders of the Republican Party in the Congress really are repulsive, in my view, are now supporting sending cluster bombs to Ukraine. Ukraine is losing the war, obviously. Ukrainians are dying in huge numbers, and the country is being destroyed.

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And of course, “the country is being destroyed” with no end in sight. On the issue of cluster bombs, as my colleague Streiff reported on Friday, the next U.S. aid package to Ukraine will include Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM) ammunition, commonly called cluster munitions for 155mm and 105mm artillery.

I’m far from an expert on military munitions, but a quick look at a video taken from above, as cluster bombs explode, is enough to reveal the devastating destruction they cause. To a military novice, at best, the introduction of DPICM appears to be a serious escalation of a war already out of control—and threatening to worsen.

Carlson Said He ‘Loves’ Trump, Admits He ‘Made Huge Mistake’ in 2022

Accounts and assumptions about Tucker Carlson’s relationship with — and thoughts about — Trump have varied through the years. Carlson explained his feelings to Brand, and also said he’s “not a very astute political analyst,” surprisingly adding that he’s never been interested in politics, period.

Where am I on Trump? Now? I love Trump personally. I mean, I made a huge mistake last November in getting involved in American politics — something I’ve never done before. And making calls, you know, “This guy’s gonna win. I think this is going to happen in this state. Meet your new governor, New York.” And I was wrong on almost every call. I’m not a very astute political analyst. I’m not interested in politics. I never have been interested in politics. I’m interested in ideas.

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So, what does interest the former Fox News star?

I’m interested in people; and so there’s a primary going out in the United States between Trump and a bunch of other people — primarily Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, but others, Vivek Ramaswamy, for example. And I haven’t said word one about it. Don’t plan to.

[…]

But when I think about Trump right now, so it’s July of 2023, I’m struck by his foreign policy views. You know, Trump is the only person with stature in the Republican Party, really, who’s saying, “Wait a second, you know, why are we supporting an endless war in Ukraine?” And that, you know, leaving aside whether Trump’s gonna get the nomination or get elected president or would be a good president, and I can’t even assess that. All I can say at this point is: I’m so grateful that he had that position.

I’m in agreement with most of the above.

The Bottom Line

While the goings-on of Tucker Carlson is no longer newsworthy in and of itself, Carlson was cable news’ biggest star one day, and the next day he wasn’t. For that reason — and what may come in his future — we continue to pay attention.

Here’s the entire interview:

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