Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) begged Tucker Carlson for forgiveness on Thursday. His sin: intimating that among the individuals who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 had been terrorists. The one-time presidential candidate debased himself in entrance of hundreds of thousands of conservative viewers, trying to atone for daring to criticize the MAGA rioters, however a prickly Carlson refused to just accept his apology.
The saga began the day earlier than, on the eve of the anniversary of the riot, when Cruz referred to the historic rebellion try as a “violent terrorist attack” throughout a speech on the Senate flooring. His remarks set off fierce backlash within the MAGAverse — which has grown more and more hostile to criticism of Jan. 6 — culminating with Carlson lashing out on the senator throughout primetime on Wednesday night.
An obsequious Cruz appeared on Carlson’s present Thursday to easy issues over — an astonishing setup, during which one of the vital high-profile elected Republicans within the nation flogged himself earlier than a cable information host.
The interview was an illustration not solely of Carlson’s energy over the GOP, however of how Jan. 6 revisionism has turn out to be Republican orthodoxy — a line within the sand that officers dare not cross.
Aside from former President Donald Trump, arguably no person has been extra devoted to revising Jan. 6 right into a noble second than Carlson. He produced a three-part docuseries final fall on Fox Nation referred to as “Patriot Purge,” a nakedly fascist piece of propaganda full of disinformation, omissions, and conspiracy theories in regards to the Jan. 6 assault that consultants frightened instantly glorified political violence. And on Thursday, by humiliating Cruz on the primary anniversary of the assault, he demonstrated that his revisionist narrative of Jan. 6 is now the dominant one in GOP politics.
“Tucker, thank you for having me on,” Cruz mentioned originally of the section. “When you aired your episode last night, I sent you a text shortly thereafter and said, ‘Listen, I’d like to go on’ because the way I phrased things yesterday it was sloppy and it was frankly dumb.”
“I don’t buy that!” Carlson exclaimed, chopping Cruz off. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. I don’t buy that.”
Carlson defined that he thinks Cruz, an Ivy League-educated lawyer whose identify was floated as a potential Supreme Court nominee, isn’t somebody who’s reckless with phrases — an affordable argument contemplating Cruz has referred to the Capitol riot as a “terrorist attack” on a number of events during the last 12 months. His use of the phrase may hardly be described as off-the-cuff.
The servile senator, maybe understanding he misplaced this spherical, pivoted to a special rationalization for his remarks.
“What I was referring to are the limited number of people who engaged in violent attacks against police officers,” Cruz mentioned. “I think you and I both agree that if you assault a police officer, you should go to jail. I wasn’t saying the thousands of peaceful protesters supporting Donald Trump are somehow terrorists. I wasn’t saying the millions of patriots across the country supporting Trump are terrorists.”
Carlson wasn’t shopping for this rationalization both.
“But wait a second, hold on, what you just said doesn’t make sense,” he shot again. “So if somebody assaults cops, he should be charged and go to jail. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve said that for years. But that person is still not a terrorist. How many people have been charged with terrorism on Jan. 6? Why did you use that word?! You’re playing into the other side’s characterization.”
Cruz defended himself, saying that during the last decade, he’s referred to as individuals who violently assault cops “terrorists” and reminded Carlson that he was amongst these Republicans who objected to the outcomes of the 2020 election.
“That being said, Tucker, I agree with you,” Cruz mentioned. “It was a mistake to say that yesterday, and the reason is what you just said, which is we have now had a year of Democrats and the media twisting words and trying to say that all of us are terrorists; trying to say you are a terrorist, I am a terrorist.”
Carlson remained steadfast in his disapproval and near the top of the interview mentioned, “I guess I just don’t believe you. And I mean that with respect.”
Carlson’s important message, as conveyed throughout “Patriot Purge” and quite a few prime-time reveals earlier than and since, was remarkably harmful. Nicole Hemmer, creator of “Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics,” described the documentary as “an overarching fantasy about the insurrection that goes like this: ‘It was not an insurrection. To the extent there was violence, it was stirred up by members of the government and left-wing agitators. All of it was orchestrated so that the full force of federal law enforcement could be unleashed against Trump supporters, marking them as enemies of the state.’”
Carlson’s interview with Cruz was additionally probably a preview of a future, post-Trump Republican Party. Cruz, who completed second to Trump within the 2016 major, has positioned himself as Trump’s successor.
But murmurs of a possible Carlson 2024 bid have grown louder in latest months, and if Thursday’s interview was any indication, the GOP belongs extra to Carlson than Cruz.