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Tucker Carlson

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Fox News host Tucker Carlson is drawing praise from white nationalist outlets for mainstreaming their “great replacement” conspiracy theory after a white supremacist allegedly killed 10 people in Buffalo, New York, in a massacre apparently inspired by it. The Fox star has drawn compliments from the notorious former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and been toasted by racist outlets like VDare and American Renaissance for bringing their message to his millions of viewers.

Carlson emerged over the last several years as the nation’s most prominent champion of the white supremacist “great replacement” conspiracy theory, which posits that a sinister elite cabal (often led by Jews) is trying to destroy the white race by using immigration policy to replace white Americans with nonwhite migrants. The Fox host kept the conspiracy theory’s superstructure intact while sanitizing it for mass consumption by swapping out key terms: Carlson describes “the great replacement” as a plot by President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party, and the Jewish financier George Soros to ensure permanent political dominance and destroy the country by using immigration policy to replace “legacy Americans with more obedient people from far-away countries.”

Both iterations are utterly false, with Carlson’s based on his typical practice of stripping videos of Democrats from context and lying about what they said. But Carlson’s bosses, Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, have stood by him as his bigoted commentary drew controversy, with Lachlan at one point even claiming that the host had actually “rejected replacement theory” – a lie that Carlson correctly took as a green light to continue.

White nationalists, who praised Carlson’s show almost since its launch in 2016 and described him as “literally our greatest ally,” have lauded Carlson’s repackaging of replacement theory. They point out that the Fox host is bringing their precepts to a huge national audience, and indeed, several of Carlson’s colleagues and many Republican politicians have followed his lead, integrating the white supremacist conspiracy theory into right-wing dogma.

Carlson’s role promoting the “great replacement” theory drew new attention following the Buffalo mass shooting, but he and his employer remain undeterred. Carlson and his colleagues lashed out at the network’s critics, while his allies tried to draw distinctions between the purportedly non-racist version of great replacement theory he uses and its white supremacist source material.

Carlson, his supporters, and the Murdochs may play dumb about what the host is doing when he invokes “the great replacement.” But white nationalists understand that he is injecting their ideas into the heart of the Republican Party by airing their talking points in a more palatable, less explicitly racist form for a mass audience.

Duke: “Incredible” Carlson is “the only voice that gets out some of the information” but he “can't say there is a war on white people”

Duke highlighted Carlson’s “incredible” May 17 monologue, in which the Fox host again promoted the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, on his radio show the following day.

“I like Tucker Carlson,” Duke later added. “I'm thankful for many of the things that he says. I also disagree with him on a number of points, but I think overall, he's the only voice that gets out some of the information at all.”

The former Klansman – who has previously suggested that Carlson is using his own talking points in discussing “the replacement of legacy Americans” – went on to explain that Carlson puts forward the same ideas as white supremacists like him but “can’t really say it” using the same words.

“He himself is reluctant to use the word ‘white’ unless he quotes other people saying ‘white.’ You can talk about – we can talk about a ‘demographic war.’ But he can't really say it like we can,” Duke said of Carlson. “He can't say there is a war on white people, and there is – there is a war against the white race.”

Duke also bemoaned that Carlson never spells out what Duke claimed is the common thread between “people he mentions like” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the heads of social media giants, and the “neocons that bring us into these terrible wars” (for Duke, a virulent antisemite who was in the middle of an anti-Jewish rant, the key commonality is obviously that they are all Jews).

White nationalists at VDare.com and American Renaissance have also celebrated Carlson’s crucial role in spreading their message to Republican politicians and voters, and have praised everyone involved in mainstreaming their vile idea for refusing to buckle under criticism from Democrats and the press.

VDare.com: Carlson is “heroic,” helped take “great replacement” from “fringes of the right” to “Republican consensus”

Peter Brimelow, the white nationalist founder and editor of VDare.com, wrote in a May 16 piece for his virulent anti-immigrant site that the alleged Buffalo shooter (whose actions Brimelow says he deplores) was motivated by “serious racial concerns.” Brimelow goes on to state that “the Great Replacement is not a ‘theory’—it is a fact.”

“The Ruling Class’s problem is not that guerrilla Dissident Right websites, and the heroic Tucker Carlson, have Noticed the Great Replacement,” the sometime Murdoch employee wrote. “It is that the Great Replacement is undeniably happening—and that it is the result of Federal Government policy.”

Carlson’s role drew a more detailed analysis in a Sunday VDare.com piece by Washington Watcher II, a pseudonymous “DC insider” who writes for the site and whose thesis is that “great replacement” rhetoric is now rampant throughout the Republican Party, thanks in part to Carlson.

Washington Watcher II wrote that Schumer and other Democrats are using the shooting to criticize the “great replacement” conspiracy theory and Carlson, who “talks about it regularly and influences Republican politicians.” But to the writer, that effort is doomed because “great replacement” is “not a fringe idea anymore, but instead part of mainstream discussion in GOP circles.”

After listing prominent Republicans who have used “great replacement” rhetoric, the writer credited Fox’s star host: “Ordinary Republicans—possibly and partly because of Carlson—believe the Great Replacement is real.”

Washington Watcher II praised Carlson and Republican leaders for “showing some backbone” following criticism from Democrats and the press, adding, “Several conservatives defend Carlson and others and say the Great Replacement is an obvious truth. … And many of the major figures accused of spreading this ‘dangerous’ theory—Carlson, [Ohio GOP Senate nominee J.D.] Vance, [Arizona GOP Senate candidate Blake] Masters, and [Texas Lt. Gov. Dan] Patrick—stayed on message through the last week.”

The VDare.com piece concluded: “The Great Replacement is no longer an idea consigned to the fringes of the right. It’s part of the new Republican consensus on border security and immigration. As well it should be. Maybe the Historic American Nation stands a chance, after all.”

American Renaissance: Progressives don’t want Carlson to “inspire young whites to resist replacement”

Carlson also drew plaudits from writers at American Renaissance, another prominent white nationalist website, following the Buffalo shooting.

In a May 19 screed, D.F. Mulder responded to critics of the Fox host by vouching for Carlson’s non-racist credentials and suggesting that those critics want to thwart his ability to “inspire young whites” to take action against their purported replacement.

“Tucker Carlson carefully avoids anything racist. He denounces racism and insists that he judges individuals by their character,” Mulder wrote, adding that “America’s ruling class” is made up of “anti-white zealots.”

“The regime opposes Mr. Carlson, not because he is a ‘racist,’ but because he thwarts their plans. It cannot show that he has said anything probably untrue,” including about “replacement theory,” Mulder added. “The power structure’s opposition to Mr. Carlson is not about truth. It is about the effects of his words, which might inspire young whites to resist replacement rather than disappearing quietly.”

Mulder concluded that in the face of this “ruling class”: “Anyone with any virtue will resist. Some will protest with money, others with pens, and still others — alas, but inevitably — with guns. Resistance is inevitable.”

“Gregory Hood” similarly wrote in a May 18 piece for the site that “the greatest threats to European-Americans are people within our borders” and that “The Great Replacement” is occurring. He praised National Review editor Rich Lowry for defending Carlson’s version of replacement theory and warned that progressives “want more censorship, especially of Tucker Carlson.”

“Hood” further wrote that “leftists … openly celebrate The Great Replacement of whites,” which he suggests is a genocide, and demands that conservatives “fight it.” He concluded: “Whites deserve political representation and legal equality in the country we built. If we don’t get it, we can expect no place in this country. We need to start building a place of our own.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center reported in 2020 that “Gregory Hood” is a pseudonym for Kevin DeAnna, described as a “prolific white nationalist blogger” and “an early leader and ideological architect of the alt-right” who helped pioneer the insult “cuckservative.”

DeAenna’s piece about the Buffalo massacre is subtitled “Republicans need allies. They need us.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

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Former President Donald Trump, left, and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone

On Wednesday evening the House Select Committee investigating the Trump coup plot issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, following blockbuster testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who said the lawyer had warned of potential criminal activity by former President Donald Trump and his aides.

The committee summons to Cipollone followed long negotiations over his possible appearance and increasing pressure on him to come forward as Hutchinson did. Committee members expect the former counsel’s testimony to advance their investigation, owing to his knowledge of the former president's actions before, during and after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

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