First Order
June 2, 2020

Some people think President Trump's threat to send the U.S. military into American cities to restore "law and order" is a frightening assault on civil liberties. Fox News host Tucker Carlson called it a good first step in a long and winding monologue Monday night.

"When the mobs came, they abandoned us," Carlson began. "This is how nations collapse, when no one in authority keeps order." He called the protesters "the worst people in our society" and the rioters "vicious psychopaths" who are "trying to topple our political system." Americans "must protect ourselves and our families," he said, "but we cannot allow ourselves to become like they are. We are not animals, we are Americans." Our leaders "set us against each other," he said, shifting gear, but "we will love our neighbors relentlessly and in spite of all of it, not just because they look like us or share our political views, but we love them because they are human beings and they are Americans. Those are the ties that bind us together, the bonds our leaders seek to destroy. We can't let them."

That's where the unity ended. Carlson showed a carefully curated, mostly context-free Twitter video montage of mostly black looters and rioters attacking mostly white people — if your own social media feed is filled with videos of police violence against peaceful protesters and bystanders, this is an alternative view, because Carlson suggested there are no peaceful protesters. He attacked Democratic leaders, saying they can't criticize the protesters because "these are their voters cleaning out the Rolex store," but he spent most of his energy slamming "so-called conservative leaders," name-checking Vice President Mike Pence and the president of the Heritage Foundation, and criticizing Nikki Haley for saying all Americans must be upset about police killing George Floyd.

Then Carlson turned to Trump, showing a clip of a Fox News correspondent chased out of Lafayette Square on Friday night by protesters. "If you can't keep a Fox News correspondent from getting attacked directly across from your house, how can you protect my family?" Carlson asked. "How are you going to protect the country? How hard are you trying? On Twitter the next morning, the president reassured America that he and his family were just fine. Their federally funded body guards had kept them safe. He did not mention protecting the rest of the nation, much of which was then on fire. He seemed aware only of himself."

"The first requirement of leadership is that you watch over the people in your care," Carlson said. "People will put up with almost anything if you do that. You can regularly say embarrassing things on television, you can hire Omarosa to work at the White House. All of that will be forgiven if you protect your people. But if you do not protect them, or worse than that, if you seem like you can't be bothered to protect them, then you're done. It's over. People will not forgive weakness." He went on to applaud Trump's military ultimatum, called his St. John's Church photo-op a "powerful symbolic gesture," trashed Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and suggested that white people aren't treated equally under the law. "Our leaders are weak," Carlson said. "Predators know it. That's why this is happening." Watch below. Peter Weber

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