Tucker Carlson, the host of Tucker Carlson Tonight on the Fox News Channel, joined Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel for an exclusive interview Saturday morning to give his thoughts on how the Republican Party has changed in many ways for the better in the past decade, especially under President Donald Trump, but how it is not happening “fast enough.”
Asked about a report from an editor at the Cook Political Report that 43 percent of Republicans who served in the U.S. House of Representatives have left office since Trump’s inauguration—either by choice, or by losing elections—Carlson said that the GOP is rapidly changing to become a party focused on mirroring the president’s views on core issues like trade and immigration, but even with the dramatic shifts, it still is not happening quickly enough.
“Yeah, probably not fast enough but that’s a really interesting question and you’re one of the few people who seems to have noticed that,” Carlson said. “There’s lot of reasons for it, but one of the reasons for it is the Republican Party was not expecting Trump and they’re not with Trump on the issues. But people are retiring because they’re not with the Trump program on the issues, wouldn’t you say?”
Red exodus: when Trump was inaugurated in 2017, there were 241 Republicans in the House. Since then, 104 of them (43%) have either retired, been defeated, or are forgoing reelection in 2020. https://t.co/faAL2bEew2
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) December 10, 2019
“The problem with the Trump era is that everything is about Trump,” Carlson continued. “And so it makes it hard to see things clearly. The left thinks everything is about Trump, and Trump thinks everything is about Trump—not to take away from Trump, I think he’s a transformative president, and I know him and happen to like him, but not everything is about Trump. That’s absurd and only a child would think that. Trump is of course the culmination of a lot of different trends. And because he is this mesmerizing, magnetic, polarizing, divisive figure—he’s all of those things—you kind of can’t see what’s happening. But what’s actually happening is voters on the left and right are increasingly rejecting politics that has no positive effect on their lives. People vote for politicians to make their lives better. It’s not that complicated—democracy is pretty simple that way. Increasingly they don’t get caught up in some kind of theoretical scheme like global warming or diversity or on the Republican side ‘free markets.’ They’re serving theories rather than people. A little bit of that is fine, but over time that doesn’t work. People reject it because it doesn’t bear fruit for them. That’s really the big change.”
Carlson said that President Trump instinctively recognized this failure by the political establishment in 2016, and seized on it to win the last presidential election.
“Trump showed up in his instinctive way, he could smell all of this—he couldn’t always articulate it, but he could feel it,” Carlson said. “And he shows up and he’s basically like ‘the people in charge are doing a completely crappy job and they don’t care about you and they’re not meeting your basic needs.’ The expressions of that were immigration and trade and a couple of other things, but really that’s what it was about. The people in charge didn’t care about the country and the country was rotting. I think the realignment is really a response to that. It’s not just about Trump and they think he’s obnoxious or whatever—okay, it’s way deeper than that. They’ve been caught. They’ve been exposed as fraudulent. They haven’t done anything for the country. Like, how have you improved America? They haven’t, actually. And they’ve presided over its decline. They should be punished, and they are being punished—and thank God for that.”
Several big name Republicans, ranging from former House Speaker John Boehner to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to former House Speaker Paul Ryan have all left office—either by losing, being forced out, or stepping aside—over the past decade, clearing the way for newer, younger Republicans to rise up.
“John Boehner is like a marijuana lobbyist now, right?” Carlson said. “Waking up every morning taking a paycheck getting your kids to smoke more weed? Why isn’t John Boehner considered disgusting? I consider John Boehner disgusting. Why don’t most Republicans think that? You go from being Speaker of the House to being a weed lobbyist and nobody says anything? Like, that’s totally normal? Really John Boehner—are you making America better, pig? No, you’re not. You’re making it much, much worse. Ask anyone with teenage children what John Boehner’s doing for America. I’m serious—it’s disgusting.”
Carlson said that the slow but steady shift inside the GOP is attributable in large part to voter dissatisfaction with the status quo in Washington.
“Ultimately, politicians respond to voters in a democracy. They do, over time,” Carlson said. “These are not philosophers. As Jim Pinkerton, who’s a frequent contributor to Breitbart and I think one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, always says, you don’t go into Congress because you’re into philosophy, you go into Congress because you’re into winning. Politicians on both sides, just by their nature, understand things best when the election results come in. It’s pretty simple. If they’re rewarded by voters for doing something, they’ll tend to keep doing something, and if they’re punished, they’ll tend to stop doing it. That’s kind of what you’re seeing, I think. Again, people focus so much on Trump the man that they miss the point completely. I think if it were anybody else this would all be clearer to the country. What you’re seeing is the angriest people are the ones who have been doing the best under the status quo. They’re the ones—the really angry people on Twitter are all rich and well-educated. This is a revolution, they’re waging a revolution against people below them. You rarely see that happen. What they’re doing is fighting for their prerogative. They’re fighting for the stuff they have now. It’s a completely rotten system and they’re the beneficiaries. So of course they’re mad and of course they’re threatened.”
Carlson also said that there are new media outlets—like Fox News, Breitbart News, and his old publication the Daily Caller—that have emerged to challenge the legacy establishment media, but Big Tech companies, especially Google but also Facebook, Twitter, and others, are a threat to ordinary people’s voices getting heard. He pointed to a recent investigation his program published zoning in on a variety of right-wing think tanks and organizations that have taken donations from tech companies and simultaneously adopted positions that benefit those companies’ continued dominance and control over public expression.
“There’s a greater diversity of sources, but there’s also a greater concentration of powe, which threatens all of it, which threatens speech, which threatens freedom of thought—your ability to come to your own conclusions, your ability to abide by your own conscience,” Carlson said. “All of that is threatened by Google, and to a lesser extent the other tech companies, Facebook and Twitter and Microsoft. Any time you have a portal as small as Google Search through which much information flows—Google has what, 90 percent, a monopoly on search—and all information in English flows through Google search. It’s sorted according to ‘algorithm,’ whatever that means. Sorted according to criteria we’re not privy to by people who clearly hate the United States and have no loyalty to it whatsoever and are working on behalf of our chief enemies in China and are highly political and despise the American right. These are the people who are in charge of sorting all human information in English, really? I don’t know, if there’s one thing that Congress needs to save us from, maybe it’s that? It’s hard to see what’s more important. And yet the Republicans are like ‘oh free markets, if you don’t like it build your own Google.’ And the Heritage Foundation, AEI, and all the other captive pointless conservative nonprofits in Washington–who have presided over the decline by the way, and who are still talking about Ronald Reagan’s victory 40 years later, these people are in effect protecting Google’s monopoly. And, you got to kind of wonder, okay, it’s great to have Fox and it’s great to have Breitbart and it’s great to have the Daily Caller, but if they control Google and they can shut you down if you say something they really don’t like, are we winning? No, we’re not winning. We’re losing. Actually, we’re moving at a high-speed toward the dark age, toward a time where you’re only allowed to have approved thought. That’s like actually Orwellian and nobody is actually saying anything about it.”
Carlson also said he does not hold anything personally against those places, like the Heritage Foundation or AEI or others, but that this issue exposes how there is nobody defending the speech rights of dissenters from the conventional wisdom or status quo.
“By the way, I have a million friends at Heritage and AEI and they’re super nice people there and I agree with them on most things,” Carlson said. “I’m not saying they’re the most evil people. I’m not saying they’re the main problem. I don’t want to overstate it. But what I am saying is they’re supposed to be looking out for our interests and protecting them, and they’re not. And by the way, who is? So, if you’re a conservative right now—or a whatever, I don’t even know what the word is—maybe that’s not the word. But if you’re not ‘with the program,’ if you don’t believe ‘diversity is our strength,’ and if you don’t repeat mindlessly the catechism and nod with bovine compliance, if you’re out of step with the ‘mainstream’ in public, who’s stepping up to protect your right to say what you think and think what you think and live in this country without being hurt? Like, who’s protecting you? The answer is nobody. The president is not protecting you, that’s for sure. The Congress is not protecting you. These think tanks aren’t protecting you. Who’s protecting you? Who’s on your side? I’m serious. I’m sensitive to this because I’m serious and I live in this world and you see someone step up and say something interesting and then have their lives taken away from them. They can’t talk in public and then they can’t have a job and they’re discredited and then what?”
Compared with battles over immigration and trade policy over the past decade inside the GOP that have framed the trajectory of the party—especially including under Trump—Carlson said he thinks this battle with big tech monopolies over control of speech is perhaps even more important.
“It’s the prequel,” Carlson said. “This is like the fight we should have been having because it’s the predicate for everything. If you can’t express yourself to other people, then you’re powerless. Actually, there’s a metaphysical quality to this too. I mean, it like destroys your soul. If they can control what you say, then they can control what you think. They can control your conscience. That’s your soul. That’s who you are. Your beliefs are the sum total of you. If they have control over those, then that’s the definition of totalitarian. The stakes are really high. We act like they’re not, like this is some kind of procedural question of whether Google qualifies as a monopoly or whatever under the Sherman Antitrust Act. People like Sen. Mike Lee of Utah—who’s a handmaiden to the tech industry—will sit there with a straight face and tell you ‘this is a really important Constitutional question.’ No, the Constitution is not relevant if we can’t say what we think about the Constitution. Under the coming regime, which again is approaching at high speed, we possibly won’t be able to. We should be highly alarmed about this. We should see this as a foundational issue—and we’re not.”
Carlson added that he believes it is imperative to emphasize that dissent is important in a free society, and that these tech companies’ control over discourse—and their moves to shut down any lines of thought they disagree with—are particularly dangerous.
“I just want to say this one more time because I can’t over-emphasize it: If you are not ‘with the program,’ if you dissent even a little bit, if you’re conservative or whatever you are—especially people on the left, that’s why I’m not limiting it to conservatives,” Carlson said. “I have a lot of friends on the real left, the sincere left, not the fake lifestyle liberalism nonsense but people like Angela Nagle—actual brave people, people with real ideas. I don’t agree with all of them, but sincere people who actually care about society and where it’s going. People like that. They can’t increasingly live freely in our society, and my question again is who is standing up for them? Who is protecting them? Everything in life is modeled on the family. So, in a family there are the parents, and in the human world as in the animal kingdom they are protective of their children. That’s a prerequisite for life. You can’t actually grow into what you’re meant to grow into unless you’re protected. There’s nobody protecting dissident voices. I can’t get past it. I’m focused on it. I don’t really know what the answer is, but I’m just struck by it. It makes me very upset with the institutions that purport to be conservative in our country and consume hundreds of millions—billions, over time—in contributions, and they’re doing nothing to protect these people. In fact, they’re the first to abandon them. They’re like, oh someone liked a tweet by someone who said something naughty five years ago, therefore we have to distance ourselves. No, you’re cowards, you will be judged, and you are selling out people who actually believed in you. You’re horrible. That’s how I feel about it.”
Carlson pointed to the violence that has occurred against Trump supporters in many places across the country, too, noting that if this happened to supporters of then-President Barack Obama when Obama was in the White House, it would have been shut down.
“Ask yourself if five years ago, if anyone who wore an Obama for president shirt got punched in the face, or attacked by mobs or had the hat pulled off his head and had a milkshake poured on him, do you think Barack Obama would sit in the White House and be like ‘there’s nothing I can do about that. Anytime somebody wears some of my campaign tee-shirts into public he gets attacked, and there’s nothing I can do about it.’ Are you joking?” Carlson said. “Are you fricking kidding? No he would have marshaled like the entire Justice Department like tonight, like right now, on behalf of his people—his voters—they voted for Obama, and saying that in public is getting them hurt. No, not acceptable. Not for one second. He would have made certain that they were free to wear clothing with his name on it. That’s just one example. But, go wear a Trump hat in Brooklyn—you will get hit. How is that ok? Really? And the Justice Department is doing nothing about this because why? People are just so crazy, I just don’t understand. And I’m not, like I don’t—I’m not exactly sure whose fault it is, but Obama never would have put up with this. He was man enough to just be like ‘no, that’s not allowed.’”
Asked what the remedy is—whether it lies with President Trump or his Justice Department—Carlson replied that conservatives need to stop letting the left frame the terms of debate and discourse.
“Conservatives need to—I’ll tell you this, I’ve lived in D.C. since 1985, okay? And I’ve been a right-winger the whole time, so I know a lot about this world, okay? I’m not guessing, I have personal knowledge about it,” Carlson said. “But increasingly they [conservatives] are very good at whining about how biased everyone is against them, which is a very unattractive quality I think. When my children whine and complain about how biased people are against them, I tell them to be quiet. I don’t like that. It’s not good for you to whine and engage in self-pity. But what they [conservatives] are not good at is setting their own terms. They let the left set the terms. So some leftwing activist group will show up and say ‘you’re no longer allowed to say X.’ I don’t know what it is, just pick something. Out with ‘the Orient,’ in with ‘Asia.’ Maybe that’s okay, maybe it’s not okay. Maybe it’s a good change, or maybe it’s a bad change. But the fact is they [the left] decide unilaterally what the changes are and then everyone else kind of has to go along with it. There’s no vote. It’s like the left decides what you’re allowed to say. Conservatives, the institutions, have found themselves in this position where they’re like trustees in a prison, where they’re carrying out the orders of the warden. The warden in this case is like the institutional left. Why are we doing this? Why are we playing along? It’s especially, it’s almost like the left is trying to see how ludicrous they can make it. You send out a tweet saying ‘men can menstruate too.’ Anyone who laughs is punished. When that happens, they’re challenging us. They’re basically saying ‘we can make you,’ this is 1984, this is Winston Smith, ‘we can make you say this. And then we can make you believe it. Watch us.’ ‘Repeat after me: Men can menstruate too.’ Then after a while you’re like ‘yeah, men can menstruate too, for sure.’ That’s when you’re a zombie. That’s when your soul is gone. That’s when they’re fully in charge of you. You’re just hunk of flesh, and you’re like a ventriloquist dummy at that point. That’s what happens.”
Looking forward to 2020 to wrap the interview, Carlson concluded by saying that the country cannot continue on this trajectory—and that he expects change is coming, and hopes it is for the better.
“This can’t continue, 2019 was just completely silly as far as I’m concerned,” Carlson said. “Just completely silly. It’s not sustainable. You have a hyper partisan left, a supine conservative establishment, and an increasingly frustrated conservative and sincere left base—you know, just like normal people—this can’t continue. I would look for big changes to the status quo in 2020 and I hope that they’re positive changes, I really do.”
LISTEN TO TUCKER CARLSON ON BREITBART NEWS SATURDAY: