Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on Fox News host Tucker Carlson running a lengthy segment last night arguing the January 6th Capitol attack was not a violent insurrection, aided by the shameful release of security footage to Fox News by Speaker McCarthy. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Last night, millions of Americans tuned into one of the most shameful hours we have ever seen on cable television.
With contempt for the facts, disregard of the risks, and knowing full well he was lying—lying—to his audience, Fox News host Tucker Carlson ran a lengthy segment last night arguing the January 6th Capitol attack was not a violent insurrection.
By diving deep into the waters of conspiracy, and cherry picking from thousands of hours of security footage, Mr. Carlson told the bold face lie that the Capitol attack—which we all saw with our own eyes—was, somehow, not an attack at all.
He tried to argue it was nothing more than a peaceful sightseeing tour. Can you imagine? A nonviolent demonstration, a perfectly fine and appropriate instance of people expressing their opinion.
I, and so many others who were here in the Capitol, and millions and millions of Americans, are just furious with Tucker Carlson and Kevin McCarthy today.
Members of my staff were here at the Capitol on January 6th. Their lives were put in danger, as were the lives of many of my colleagues, as well as police, maintenance staff, reporters, countless others.
At one point, I was within 30 feet of the rioters. One of them, I was told, shouted out, “let's get him,” before my detail pulled me away and we ran in the other direction. To say January 6th was not violent is a lie—a lie pure and simple.
I don’t think I have ever seen a prime-time cable news anchor manipulate his viewers the way Mr. Carlson did last night.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an anchor treat the American people, and American democracy, with such disdain. And he’s going to come back tonight with another segment. Fox News should tell him not to. Fox News, Rupert Murdoch—tell Mr. Carlson not to run a second segment of lies. You know it's a lie. You've admitted it's a lie.
And Speaker McCarthy is every bit as culpable as Mr. Carlson. Speaker McCarthy’s decision to share security footage with Fox looked like a mistake from the very beginning, but after last night, it looks like a disaster.
Speaker McCarthy has played a treacherous—a treacherous—game by catering to the hard right. He’s enabled the Big Lie and has further eroded away at our precious democracy. When people don’t believe elections are on the level, that is the beginning of the end of this bold experiment in democracy that has gone on for more than two hundred years.
It is all the more shameful because Speaker McCarthy knows precisely what kind of customer Mr. Carlson is—he is not surprised by this outcome.
What a low point for Speaker McCarthy. What a low point for Fox News.
As reporting on the Dominion lawsuit shows, Mr. Carlson had no problem admitting behind the scenes the Big Lie is pure garbage. When Sidney Powell went on air to push the stolen election narrative, Mr. Carlson told fellow anchor Laura Ingraham that “Sidney Powell is lying.” Mr. Carlson’s own producer texted him that “I don’t think there is evidence of voter fraud that swung the election.”
They know. They know full well they’ve been lying. And they are doing it anyway.
All Americans of all types and stripes and corners of this country—Democrats, Republicans, Independents—need to take a stand and call out Mr. Carlson’s conduct for what it is: a dangerous, unforgivable attempt to destabilize our democracy and rewrite the history of the worst attack on our Constitution since the Civil War.
It’s an insult to every police officer who was on the scene that terrible, fearful day.
It’s an insult to the memory of every single person who perished in connection to the attack, especially to the memory of Brian Sicknick. Nonviolent? Ask the Sicknick family. It makes me sick just thinking about what his family must be going through this morning.
And it’s an insult to everyone who cares about our democracy and wishes to preserve the dream of our founders in our day and our age.
I hope every member of this Chamber will call out Fox and Mr. Carlson for defending the insurrectionists.
And again, I am disappointed and angered in Speaker McCarthy’s decision to share sensitive security footage with Mr. Carlson.
Speaker McCarthy was here that day. He knows what actually happened. His staff and Members suffered like everyone else. But he chose cheap political expediency over truth and preservation of democracy.
I condemn Mr. Carlson for siding with the enemies of democracy. I strongly condemn Speaker McCarthy’s actions, and fiercely oppose his decision to share this footage with Carlson. I urge Fox News to order Carlson to cease propagating the Big Lie on his network, and to level with their viewers about the truth—the truth!—behind their efforts to mislead the public. Conduct like theirs is just asking for another January 6th to happen.