Fox News host Tucker Carlson called then-President Donald Trump “a demonic force” and “a destroyer” in a text to his producer after thousands of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
“But he’s not going to destroy us,” Carlson added in the text, revealed in a court filing Thursday that lays out how Fox News knowingly spread election lies.
The 192-page filing, part of an ongoing $1.6 billion defamation suit against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems, reveals private messages between several network hosts and employees, as well as Fox media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
Dominion alleges that Fox News put Trump sycophants on the air ― including Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and campaign lawyer Sidney Powell ― despite knowing that they were spouting baseless conspiracies, including claims that Dominion machines changed votes during the 2020 election.
“Sidney Powell is lying by the way,” Carlson said in a text to fellow host Laura Ingraham in November 2020. “It’s insane.”
On Nov. 5 of that year, Carlson also expressed fears that Trump “could easily destroy us if we play it wrong” after Fox News called Arizona for Democratic rival Joe Biden.
While the upper echelons of Fox News apparently knew Trump had lost the vote fairly, that didn’t stop the network from platforming those like Powell and Giuliani, who continued to spread conspiracies of election fraud without evidence.
What’s more, Carlson railed against co-workers who would dare question these lies, according to the filing. When Fox reporter Jacqui Heinrich fact-checked those false claims on her Twitter account on Nov. 12, 2020, Carlson suggested that she lose her job.
“Please get her fired,” Carlson texted host Sean Hannity, according to the document. “Seriously….What the fuck? I’m actually shocked…It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.”
After insurrectionists attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Carlson told producer Alex Pfeiffer that Trump is “a demonic force, a destroyer. But he’s not going to destroy us” — despite continuing to publicly defend Trump on his program at the time.
The newly released texts are just another example of how Carlson followed Trump’s lead even when he disagreed with him.
As the coronavirus began to spread in early March 2020, Carlson drove to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and warned him to take the virus seriously.
“I tried man,” Carlson told Infowars host Alex Jones afterward, according to a series of private text messages first obtained by HuffPost.
By the following month, as Trump continued to ignore the severity of COVID-19, Carlson himself apparently stopped regarding the virus as a threat, instead repeating conspiracy theories shared by Trump that minimized the danger of the pandemic even as thousands of Americans were dying.
Less than a year later, and just weeks after calling Trump “demonic,” Carlson nevertheless broadcast a show on which right-wing pillow magnate Mike Lindell “spouted … [such] conspiracies on air after previewing them for Carlson’s staff during a pre-interview,” according to the court filing.