Tucker Carlson interview goes sideways when guest accuses him of defending Putin

Fox News personality Tucker Carlson got into a heated debate with news analyst and former US Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters on Tuesday, after Peters suggested Carlson was being sympathetic to 1930s Nazi Germany.

“I’m not vouching for Putin’s character, he seems like a shady guy, a strongman for sure,” Carlson said, referring to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s veiled campaign against Islamic State militants. “Hard to see why he’s a threat to us … why not just accept that people who are bad people share our interest and side with them.”

“You sound like Charles Lindbergh in 1938 saying ‘Hitler hasn’t attacked us,” said Peters.

Although Lindbergh warned the US of Germany’s advancement in aviation technology in the 1930s, he received criticism after he was honored by the Nazi government and suggested the US ought to negotiate a neutrality pact.

“I beg your pardon,” Carlson said. “Slow, down. Hey, slow down Colonel. You cannot compare me to someone who can make apologies for Hitler. “And I don’t think Putin is comparable to Hitler.”

“I think Putin is,” replied Peters.

“I think it’s a grotesque overstatement actually,” said Carlson. “I think it’s insane.”

“Fine, you can think it’s insane all you want,” Peters said.

“You just compared me to a Nazi-apologist because I asked a simple question,” said Carlson. “Which is, why does it contravene American interest to make common cause with a group that’s trying to kill ISIS?”

“Cause he invaded his neighbours, broken the long peace in Europe, he assassinates dissidents and journalists, he bombs women and children on purpose in Syria, he is as bad as Hitler,” said Peters. “And I’m sorry, if you don’t like the Charles Lindbergh thing, I will retract that. But let’s just say you sound like someone in 1938 saying ‘What’s Hitler done to us?”

“Putin is the equivalent to Hitler,” continued Peters.

“I would hate to go back and read your columns assuring America that taking out Saddam Hussein will make the region calmer, more peaceful, and make America safer, when in fact it has done exactly the opposite and has empowered Russia and Iran, the two countries you say you fear most,” Carlson said, referring to Peters’ support of the US’s invasion of Iraq.

PutinGetty ImagesRussian President Vladimir Putin.

“Let’s just be totally honest here, we don’t always know the outcomes … so maybe we should lower the moral tone a little bit, rather than calling people ‘accomodationists,” Carlson continued.

“You made your career being an American conservative patriot, and now you’re suddenly cheering for Vladimir Putin?” asked Peters.

“I’m not in any sense cheering for Vladimir Putin,” said Carlson. “I am cheering for America as always. Our interests ought to come first. And to the extent that making temporary alliances with other countries serve our interests: I am in favour of that. Making sweeping moral claims, grotesque ones, comparing people to Hitler, advances the ball not one inch.”

“Vladimir Putin is comparable,” said Peters. “He hates America, he wants to hurt us. And I’m sorry, all this suddenly ‘Vladimir Putin is a good guy, Russia’s OK’ — not it’s not. Russia is evil, Russia is our enemy.”

“You’re not talking about dealing with them, you’re talking about … an anti-terror alliance,” Peters continued.

“A good deed is a good deed no matter who commits it, why not just say that,” Carlson asked.

National security experts at large believe that Russia’s claim of fighting against ISIS, especially in Syria, are disingenuous. Experts contend that Russia’s interference in the six-year-long civil war aims to make sure that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an ally to Russia, remains in power.

“Whatever they do against ISIS is done to protect themselves or to support Assad,” said Jim Townsend, former deputy assistant secretary of defence for European and NATO policy, according to Vox. “It’s a different kind of fight for them.”

The heated exchange between Carlson and Peters lasted over six minutes. Toward the end of the discussion, the ambience took a lighter tone after Carlson asked: “And do you speak Arabic, by the way?”

“No I don’t,” Peters said. “How’s your Russian?”

Watch the Fox News clip here:

Tucker throws a fit when Lt. Col. Ralph Peters calls him out for defending Putin and compares Tucker to Lindbergh’s comments on Hitler. pic.twitter.com/QgJGzU1GXf
— Richard W. (@IceManNYR) July 12, 2017

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