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Tucker Carlson admitted he was wrong to praise Russia before its invasion of Ukraine, but turned it into an attack on Kamala Harris

Business Insider logo Business Insider 3/4/2022 mjankowicz@businessinsider.com (Mia Jankowicz)
A screenshot from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on March 3 2022. Fox News/YouTube © Fox News/YouTube A screenshot from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on March 3 2022. Fox News/YouTube
  • Tucker Carlson explained Thursday night why his show didn't see Russia's attack on Ukraine coming.
  • He claimed that Kamala Harris being involved in pre-war diplomacy marked it as a low-grade issue. 
  • The argument comes after weeks of Carlson defending Putin and Russia before the invasion of Ukraine.

Fox News star Tucker Carlson admitted on Thursday that he misjudged Russia's war on Ukraine — but placed the blame on Vice President Kamala Harris. 

It came after Carlson broadcast a report by correspondent Benjamin Harris about the Russian attack on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine, which prompted international concern about nuclear safety.

Carlson asked how his show didn't "see this coming."

"The situation appears to become more chaotic by the day, possibly even spinning out of control," he said. 

"And that, we must be honest, is shocking to us. We've been taken by surprise by the whole thing — we're not the only ones who were, but we're willing to admit it."

In fact, US officials were warning for several months that Russia was poised to attack, closely tracking the buildup of troops around Ukraine and outlining an invasion scenario which more or less came to pass.

In Tucker's defense, he cited Harris being involved in diplomatic efforts in the run-up to the conflict for discounting the chance of anything much happening.

Replay Video

Harris spoke on February 19 at the Munich security conference, a moment that Carlson's show mocked. Fox News also published a round-up of tweets from conservative commentators who found her address frivolous. 

The fact that President Joe Biden's administration sent Harris was a signal that the situation "couldn't really be that serious," Carlson argued. 

"We assumed that if things were dire, serious people would be involved in fixing them," he said. "We looked up and we saw Kamala Harris involved. And that reassured us."

Such high-level diplomacy is not Harris' job, Carlson argued, with trademark sarcasm. "Kamala Harris' job is to trot down to the Blue Room periodically to greet delegations of TikTok influencers, or to cut the occasional PSA for the children's dental health awareness month."

Public perceptions of Harris did indeed suffer during her first year in office — something Carlson underscored with a montage of her apparent flubs.

But as vice president, international diplomacy is clearly within her brief. Joe Biden carried out numerous high-stakes engagements with other countries while Barack Obama's vice president, including some in Ukraine.

Many commentators differed on whether Putin actually planned to attack, or was bluffing, during the buildup of military forces, despite US officials making clear they believed an invasion was all but guaranteed.

Carlson went much further with his sympathetic coverage of Russia — to the point that Russian state TV began to re-broadcast his show with Russian subtitles

In December, Carlson defended Putin for amassing his troops at the Ukrainian border. He repeatedly echoed Kremlin talking points in the run-up to the war, including a segment two nights before Russian troops poured in. 

Since the invasion, he's been hard pressed explain those positions. In addition to Thursday's attempt to blame Harris, his show U-turned on whether Putin was to blame for the conflict, concluding that he was.

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