Tucker Carlson had a curious defense of Vladimir Putin in his first interview since interviewing the Russian autocrat, saying “Every leader kills people, leadership requires killing.”
Carlson’s remarks were made at the 2024 World Government Summit in Dubai, where he was interviewed by Egyptian journalist Emad Eldin Adeeb.
Adeeb asked Carlson why he neglected to ask Putin about such pressing topics as the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. “I’m not going to lecture you, but you should challenge some ideas,” said Adeeb. “You did not talk about freedom of speech, you did not talk about Navlny…”
Carlson replied that other journalists had already posed such questions to Putin, adding, essentially, that it’s not news that Putin has ordered hits on his enemies. “Every leader kills people, leadership requires killing,” said the former Fox News anchor. (Carlson’s comments that “leadership requires killing” appear about 17 minutes into the 26-minute segment.)
Although Carlson did ask Putin about the potential release of detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich during the interview that took place in Moscow, he told Adeeb that his primary goal was to “let Putin talk” and “hear his thoughts.” Carlson said that positioning himself as the “good guy” to Putin’s “bad guy” would “not be fruitful.”
When Adeeb asked about Carlson’s response to the criticism leveled at him over his Putin interview, Carlson responded,”I don’t like the internet and I haven’t seen any of the reactions.” Adeeb asked specifically if Carlson had heard Hillary Clinton’s summation that he had proved “a useful idiot” to the Russian dictator and he claimed not to have heard about it.
“She’s a child, I don’t listen to her,” he said of the former Secretary of State.
While Carlson insisted several times that he is “not flakking for Putin,” he did praise Moscow for being better than any current U.S. city. “Moscow is so much nicer than any city in my country, cleaner and safer and prettier. I grew up in a country that had cities like Moscow and Abu Dhabi, and Singapore and Tokyo, and we no longer have them.”
Decrying the “filth and graffiti” found in American cities and people “begging for drugs” in London, Carlson seemed to be saying that if he were in charge, those kinds of things would not happen: “My children don’t smoke marijuana at the breakfast table because I don’t allow them.”
Carlson also has a long history of supporting pro-Putin and pro-Russia talking points on issues like the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine or U.S.-Russia relations, and criticizing Putin’s enemies and people arrested and imprisoned by Russia.
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