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Dick Durbin Slams Tucker Carlson As ‘Apologist For Putin’ In Senate Floor Speech

In a speech on the Senate floor Monday, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Fox News host Tucker Carlson “should be ashamed of himself” for acting as an apologist for Russian President Vladimir Putin.Amid Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, parts of Carlson’s on-air spiels have been translated to serve as pro-Russia propaganda on Russian state-sponsored TV.The Fox News host has blamed the U.S. for Russia’s war and repeated pro-Russia talking points, evidently nabbing the attention of the Kremlin, which reportedly directed state media to use clips of his broadcasts “as much as possible” earlier this month.“When I hear apologists for Putin in America, I wonder who they are and what they’re made of,” Durbin said during a speech condemning Russian atrocities in Ukraine.“Tucker Carlson is one that even the Russians are recommending that their friends in the media listen to. Making excuses on Fox for Vladimir Putin. There are no excuses. Not acceptable,” the senator said. “Mr. Carlson should be ashamed of himself.”According to a Mother Jones report published over the weekend, a Russian government agency asked media and commentators in a March 3 memo to use clips of Carlson’s broadcasts because he “sharply criticizes” the actions of the U.S. and NATO and their “negative role in unleashing the conflict in Ukraine.”On Thursday, ABC’s chief Washington correspondent, Jonathan Karl, reported that Carlson’s commentary justifying Russia’s attack on Ukraine has at times been an almost “word-for-word” recitation of Putin’s remarks.Carlson has promoted these types of views for years. In 2019, he asked, “Why do I care what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia? … Why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Which I am.” Following backlash, he claimed he was joking.As Russian aggression intensified in the lead-up to the invasion, Carlson defended Putin and criticized Ukraine, arguing that Ukraine was not a democracy.After Putin began his brutal attacks on the neighboring nation and its civilians, Carlson admitted that it had taken him “by surprise” and that some of his analysis was wrong. He has since amplified a baseless Russian conspiracy theory about secret U.S.-backed biological warfare labs in Ukraine.Carlson and his Fox News colleague Laura Ingraham were also featured in a speech by Durbin on the Senate floor last year. On that occasion, Durbin slammed them for spreading anti-vaccine misinformation amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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