Tucker Carlson to Cruz: 'I Guess I Just Don't Believe You'

Senator walks back his 'terrorist' description of Jan. 6 riot, but Fox host doesn't buy it
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2022 12:34 PM CST
Tucker Carlson Grills Ted Cruz Over 'Terrorist' Comment
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during a Senate Rules and Administration Committee oversight hearing on Wednesday in Washington.   (Elizabeth Frantz/Pool via AP)

(Newser) – On the eve of the anniversary of the Capitol riot this week, Ted Cruz described it as "a violent terrorist attack." On Thursday night, the GOP senator tried to walk back his use of the word "terrorist" during a grilling by Tucker Carlson on Fox News. Carlson, however, wasn't having it. "The way I phrased things yesterday, it was sloppy and it was frankly dumb," said Cruz, per Yahoo News. But Carlson cut him off: "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, I don't buy that!" Cruz repeatedly tried to make the point that he wasn't referring to the vast majority of Trump supporters at the Capitol, only those who attacked police officers. "I guess I just don't believe you," Carlson said. "And I mean that with respect."

Politico takes note of the context: Cruz is believed to be positioning himself for a 2024 run for president, and referring to Trump supporters as terrorists isn't going to help his cause. Carlson himself also is rumored to be considering a run, notes the outlet. An analysis in the Washington Post by Aaron Blake points out that Carlson had good reason to be skeptical of Cruz's claim that he misspoke this week. After all, Cruz has referred to the events of Jan. 6 as terrorism on multiple occasions, including in tweets on Jan. 7, 2021, and the following day.

"You told that lie on purpose, and I'm wondering why you did," Carlson said on his show Thursday night, per Politico. "What I was referring to are the limited number of people who engaged in violent attacks against police officers," responded Cruz. "I think you and I both agree that if you assault a police officer, you should go to jail. I wasn't saying the thousands of peaceful protesters supporting Donald Trump are somehow terrorists. I wasn't saying the millions of patriots across the country supporting Trump are terrorists." To which Carlson responded: "What you just said doesn't make sense." (Read more Ted Cruz stories.)

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