The first Republican presidential debate was last night, and Tucker Carlson’s interview of Donald Trump was released minutes before the debate as counterprogramming. Surprisingly, the most deranged pronouncement in either event wasn’t from one of the debaters (although Vivek Ramaswamy’s assertion that “the climate agenda is a hoax” was extreme), nor was it anything Trump said. The most deranged pronouncement of the night was Carlson’s assertion that an attempt on Trump’s life is inevitable, because “they” need him dead — which, according to Carlson, makes Trump like Jeffrey Epstein.
Slate’s Molly Olmstead has the details:
In the interview … former President Donald Trump was boasting about his poll numbers when Tucker Carlson suddenly cut him off.
“Can I ask you—that gets back to my original question,” he said. “If the protests didn’t work, and you got elected anyway; the impeachment didn’t work, twice; indictment is not working … If you chart it out, it’s an escalation, is what I’m saying. So what’s next, after trying to put you in prison for the rest of your life? That’s not working. Don’t they have to kill you now?”
Trump didn’t respond directly. “I think the people of our country don’t get enough credit for how smart they are,” he said. “They get it. I got indicted four times. All trivial. Nonsense. Bullshit. It’s all bullshit.”
It was the second time Carlson had brought up the strong likelihood, from his perspective, that they were going to try to kill Trump.
The first time came after Carlson asked Trump whether he believes Jeffrey Epstein was murdered. Trump said he’s not sure, but he thinks the death was a suicide; Carlson flatly asserted that Epstein was killed.
If it seemed odd that Carlson was grilling Trump about Jeffrey Epstein, the host finally made his point clear. “The reason I’m asking you is I’m looking at the trajectory since 2015,” he said. “It started with protests against you, massive protests, organized protests by the left, and then it moved to impeachment next, and then indictment. I mean the next stage is violence. Are you worried that they’re trying to kill you? Why wouldn’t they try to kill you, honestly?”
Even if you believe everything Carlson said — I’m sure most of his audience does — it was odd for him to make this comparison directly to Trump, in front of an audience full of Trump supporters. Epstein was a pedophile with many wealthy and well-connected friends, many of whom engaged in pedophilic sexual activity with Epstein’s assistance — and here was Carlson seemingly saying, to Trump’s face, They killed that pervert, and you’re like him. I know that Carlson has a love/hate relationship with Trump, but is that really the message he was trying to send? (Trump is a sex criminal, of course, but he seems to prefer assaults on adult women, and his fans think women throw themselves at him, so he’d never bother to assault one.)
But I don’t think Carlson intended his audience to think of Trump as another sex criminal. His point was that they — the Deep State, the Regime, whatever term you want to use — kill whoever stands in the way of implementing their evil agenda (though somehow they never killed Trump while he was president), so of course they’ll try to off him the way they offed Epstein.
This is one of the top techniques right-wing propagandists have for keeping the base angry. Attacking political enemies for things they’ve actually done isn’t enough, so the hated libs get attacked for things right-wingers think we’ll do, or claim we’re planning to do.
We’re going to take away everyone’s guns. We’re going to eliminate free enterprise and convert America to pure socialism. We’re going to abolish the dollar and replace it with the “amero,” a coin of the “North American Union” (old version) or with a “central bank digital currency and surveillance system” (new version). We’re going to uproot everyone who lives in suburban and rural communities and forcibly confine them in “fifteen-minute cities.” We’re going to respond to a slight uptick in COVID cases by reinstating every heath protocol from 2020.
The way this technique works is that some people, on hearing that the evil libs are scheming to do something we’re not actually scheming to do, will believe it’s already happening with no additional evidence. Others will imagine a slippery slope: If a state passes a red flag law, mass gun confiscation is the obvious next step. If one college reinstates mask mandates, then nationwide lockdowns are surely coming any day now.
And, presumably, if there’s an act of violence or threat of violence against any MAGA Republican, then the Deep State/Soros hit squad targeting Trump is surely locked and loaded.
In the reptile brains of right-wingers, anticipated evil deeds feel as if they’re actually happening, and arouse as much anger as they would if they’d actually taken place. Tucker Carlson knows that. It’s why he talked about an assassination plan that doesn’t exist.
Republished with permission from No More Mister Nice Blog.