Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson was worried that former president Donald Trump’s election denialism and false rhetoric around the 2020 presidential election would trap him at Fox News for the rest of his career, according to texts obtained by The Daily Beast.
“It’s so sad,” Carlson texted Fox News commentator Jesse Watters in 2020, referring to Trump. “He’s going to break some shit. He already is. Wish I knew where to run. But I’ll die here.”
Carlson was unexpectedly fired from the network last month, shortly after Fox settled with Dominion Voting Systems — agreeing to pay the election equipment company $787.5 million after it sued the conservative network for making claims that their voting machines were rigged against Trump in the last presidential election.
Unsealed legal filings from the case recently revealed that Carlson said in texts that he “passionately” “hate[s]” Trump and opposed his lies around election fraud. But despite his strong feelings behind the scenes, Cralson continued to publicly promote Trump’s lies on his show.
In a separate text chain, Carlson and host Bret Baier discussed the network’s delay in calling the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden, according to The Daily Beast.
“I continue to think the company isn’t taking the [sic] seriously enough,” Carlson wrote to Baier, as he complained to Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott that the network was “getting hammered” over its early and accurate call for Biden to win the Arizona vote. “We need to do something to reassure our core audience. They’re our whole business model.”
“We have been pushing for answers,” Baier responded. “I have pressed them to slow. And I think they will slow walk Nevada. The votes don’t come in until tomorrow.”
In response to Baier, Carlson expressed gratitude and offered to help slow-walk further election calls. “Please let me know if they don’t seem to be obeying,” he wrote. “We could really fuck up a lot of what we’ve built.”
Later in the discussion, Carlson acknowledged his personal stake in the disinfo game: “I’ve got four more years here. I’m stuck with Fox. Got to do whatever I can to keep our numbers up and our viewers happy.”