The evening could hardly have gone better for Donald Trump. While his competitors fought each other verbally in the traditional TV debate, he got the undivided attention of host Tucker Carlson, who was well off and fired from Fox News. Broadcast at the same time, but not live, the interview was a safer alternative for Donald Trump, who wants to become US President again in 2024. It was broadcast on the “X” platform, formerly Twitter.
The questions are less critical, the answers are not live but edited – and above all there are no competitors who could embroil him in a mud fight over his legal problems. Or worse, prosecutors who could use Trump’s spontaneous answers in a live debate directly for the next indictment.
“Why should I allow myself to be bullied?”
Trump himself justified his absence from the debate with his popularity. “Why should I stand on the stage there for two hours to be bullied?” Trump said when asked why he was skipping the traditional TV debate of the Republican primary. “I’m leading the polls with 50 points, he doesn’t need it.” Even if he interprets the poll values a little more generously than they actually are, he’s right: the 77-year-old is, despite his massive judicial problems, now with four charges overwhelming favorite in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
For Trump, the interview was also a conversation with a feel-good factor. There were no critical questions, Carlson largely followed Trump’s claims of the “stolen election” and the “witch hunt” on him. The interview should have given Trump the desired attention. While the official TV debate was still going on, Trump’s appearance on “X” already had over 84 million views.
“Are you afraid they’ll try to kill you?”
The interview climaxed when Carlson suggested that they first protested against Trump, then sought his impeachment, then sued him: “Are you afraid they’ll try to kill you next?” Carlson asked Trump.
“They are wild animals. It’s people who are sick. Very sick. There are great people in the Democratic Party, great people who are Democrats,” Trump said. “But I’ve seen what they’re doing, I’ve seen the effort they’re making.”
The fact that the interview was broadcast on the “X” platform five minutes before the Fox News debate should be understood both as a dig at Trump’s Republican Party, but also by Tucker Carlson at his former employer Fox News. Carlson was one of the network’s most recognizable faces and was fired after Fox News was sued for hundreds of millions for spreading misinformation about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Carlson played a key role in the lawsuit, especially after it was revealed that he took very different positions on Trump in private messages than he did on camera.