While Fox News is often quick to claim the mantle of American patriotism, its top prime-time host Tucker Carlson has now made a new political enemy: the U.S. Armed Forces themselves, for his stream of insults this week against female service members.
On the March 9 edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight, the host dishonestly used a video of President Joe Biden delivering remarks on National Women’s Day on promoting the participation of women in the Armed Forces. (In addition, Biden announced the promotion of two female officers whose recommendations had been delayed during the final year of former President Donald Trump’s term.)
But in Carlson’s telling to his viewers, Biden’s remarks were actually “the American military response” to the size of China’s navy, as well as a possible “national masculinity crisis.” Carlson then ridiculed a photo of a pregnant American service member, declaring: “It's a mockery of the U.S. military.”
In the days since the segment aired, a number of female service members and veterans have spoken out against Carlson on Twitter:
In addition, high-ranking military leaders have tweeted their own messages to Carlson, essentially telling him to get lost.
The progressive veterans organization VoteVets also commented: “Tucker Carlson doesn’t think women can serve in the military. Pretty bold words from a frozen food heir who couldn’t be bothered to serve himself.”
In addition, CNN reports that Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Thursday that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin — himself a retired four-star Army general — “certainly shares the revulsion of so many others to what Mr. Carlson said.”
Kirby also turned the rhetorical tables around on Carlson’s protests about an alleged crisis of masculinity: “What we absolutely won't do is take personnel advice from a talk show host, or the Chinese military. Maybe those folks feel like they have something to prove. That's on them.”
Another person who has responded to Carlson is Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), an Army veteran who lost both her legs while serving as a helicopter pilot in Iraq. She and Carlson have some history, as well. In 2020, he deceptively edited a video clip of Duckworth, then made an accusation against her: “These people actually hate America.”
Duckworth then tweeted her own response, asking Carlson if he wanted to “walk a mile in my legs and then tell me whether or not I love America?” The next night, Carlson only dug in further by calling the senator a “coward” and a “fraud.”
Duckworth responded on Thursday to Carlson newest outrage, contrasting the accomplishment of female service members against Carlson’s own famed physical prowess — from when he was eliminated from Dancing With the Stars after only a single week. As a fan site of the show explains: “His performance on the previous night was the lowest ranked among the judges; the low score resulted from his spending much of the performance sitting in a chair.”
Or as Duckworth puts it: “Happy belated International Women’s Day to everyone but Tucker, who even I can dance better than.”