Fox News host Tucker Carlson condemned the protests that have broken out in Minneapolis following the killing of George Floyd by police, claiming on Wednesday night that they are a “form of tyranny” and “oppression.”
With demonstrations growing violent and chaotic as protesters have clashed with riot gear-clad police—who have cracked down on the protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets—Carlson devoted most of his attention to the actions of the demonstrators, who are protesting the death of a black man who was pinned down by a cop.
“So we know that George Floyd died in police custody, and when an investigation is done we will do a lot more,” the conservative primetime host declared “It’s possible that at least one police officer will be charged in the case. So as of tonight, those are the facts. Here’s another fact: What happened last night in Minneapolis was not a political protest—it was a riot.”
Showing footage of demonstrators breaking windows and cursing, Carlson told his viewers that this is “what rioting looks like,” insisting he wasn’t trying to defend the behavior of the police officers involved in Floyd’s death.
“We are defending society itself,” he said. “Rioting is one thing you don’t want. Ugly opinions, police brutality, officious birdwatchers, rude entitled ladies walking their dogs in big city parks—all of that is bad, but none of it is nearly as bad as what you just saw.”
“The indiscriminate use of violence by mobs is a threat to every American of all colors and backgrounds and political beliefs,” Carlson continued. “Democracy cannot exist when people are rioting. Rioting is a form of tyranny. The strong and the violent oppress the weak and the unarmed. It is oppression.”
The Fox News host went on to accuse CNN and other media outlets of trying to fan racial flames, complaining that CNN labeled the demonstrators as “protesters” rather than “rioters.”
While Carlson said that these recent demonstrations against police brutality are riots and not political protests, the Fox News host—who said last summer that white supremacy is a “hoax”—was singing a different tune during the anti-lockdown protests staged by armed, largely white, right-wingers storming the Michigan capitol.
“This is America,” Carlson said at the time. “We’re allowed to disagree with what our leaders do however we like, and we’re allowed to express that disagreement in public.”