Donald Trump’s Tucker Carlson Interview During Debate Got Weird – Rolling Stone

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It’s debate night for the Republican presidential hopefuls, but their leading candidate can’t be bothered. Instead of heading to Milwaukee to face his rivals, Donald Trump stayed at his resort in Bedminster, New Jersey and sat down for an interview with Tucker Carlson that aired exclusively on Twitter — at the exact same time as the debate.

The conversation opened with a discussion of whether disgraced billionaire and alleged sex trafficker Jeffery Epstein actually killed himself in prison. 

“Do you think Epstein killed himself?” Carlson asked. 

“I don’t know, I will say he was a fixture in Palm Beach,” Trump replied. Carlson went on to insinuate that Trump’s former Attorney General Bill Barr had a role in covering up a plot to assassinate Epstein, prompting the first mention of election fraud from the former president. 

“Bill Barr didn’t do an investigation on the election fraud either […] Barr became so petrified – so frightened — of being impeached […] but he didn’t do the job there,” Trump said. “I don’t know what he did with Epstein,” he added.

Both the former president and the former Fox News host have major bones to pick with Fox, and that showed in their decision to collaborate on counter-programming on Wednesday night. Carlson was fired from Fox in April at what was ostensibly the height of his influence within Republican politics. Trump, meanwhile, continuously complains that Fox has provided more favorable coverage to his GOP rivals and that the network airs too many photos of his double chin. 

As previously reported by Rolling Stone, sources close to the former president say his decision to skip the debate is partially motivated by a desire to seek revenge against the Murdoch family, which owns Fox News. “Maybe they should have been loyal,” Trump told allies. 

Despite Carlson’s well-documented private disdain for Trump’s politics, the two are united in hyper-nationalist policy priorities and a conspiratorial mindset that allows them to put their differences aside for some good old-fashioned stream of conscious rambling. 

While Trump’s opponents tore at each other on Fox News, the pair discussed how President Biden looks in a bathing suit, how many people we lost “to the mosquito” building the Panama Canal, how unfair water efficiency standards on home appliances are — and all served with a sprinkling of Trump’s standard grievances and gripes. 

The former president attacked his former Vice President and 2024 opponent Mike Pence, arguing that in his view Pence had the authority to send electoral college votes back to the states as part of his effort to stave off his election loss. 

“I think you can always do something if you see fraud,” Trump told Carlson. The former president accused “RINOs” and Democrats of conspiring after the election to tighten the laws surrounding the Vice President’s role in election certifications. 

“So you’re saying I was right? The Vice President did have the right to do it,” Trump quipped. 

On his many indictments, Trump said the legal cases aren’t phasing him because he’s doing so well amongst Republican voters. The former president attacked Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who charged him and 18 of his allies in a sprawling Georgia RICO case over efforts to overturn the 2020 election. 

“The people see it’s a fraud,” Trump told Carlson. “This horrible District Attorney, from just a little while ago, from essentially Atlanta, […] basically they’re suing me and they’re saying you don’t have any right to challenge, and if you challenge an election we’re going to indict you and put you in jail.” 

Carlson closed the interview with a pointed question: “Do you think we’re moving towards civil war?”

Trump paused for a moment. “There’s tremendous passion, and there’s tremendous love,” he responded. “Jan. 6 was a very interesting day, because they don’t report it properly.” 

“People that were in that crowd that day — a very very small group of people — went down there and there were a lot of scenarios that we can talk about, but people in that crowd said it was the most beautiful day they had ever experienced. There was love and unity.” 

“I’ve never seen such spirit and such passion and such love, and I’ve also never seen, simultaneously and from the same people, such hatred of what they’ve done to our country,”Trump added. 


“So do you think it’s possible that there’s open conflict?” Carlson pressed. 

“I don’t know, I don’t know,” Trump replied. “I can say this: There’s a level of passion I’ve never seen, and there’s a level of hatred I’ve never seen. And that’s probably a bad combination.” 

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