Tucker Carlson defends vigilante shooter, says he ‘had to maintain order when no one else would’

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is standing by the vigilante teen accused of fatally shooting two people and injuring another during a Kenosha, Wisconsin, protest Tuesday night.

Court records show Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, faces a first-degree intentional homicide charge in Kenosha County after shooting demonstrators protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Based on Wisconsin law, Rittenhouse would be charged as an adult.

On “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Wednesday, the talk show host appeared to justify Rittenhouse’s actions, saying it’s understandable given violence and chaos in the city.

“We do know why it happened, though. Kenosha devolved into anarchy because the authorities abandoned the people,” Carlson said. “Those in charge, from the governor on down, refused to enforce the law. They’ve stood back and watched Kenosha burn. Are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder?

Carlson aired graphic social media footage that appeared to portray the incident involving Rittenhouse. He painted the teen as a victim who “tried to run from the mob,” adding that Rittenhouse’s actions may qualify as “self defense.”

“How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?” Carlson said.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson

Carlson’s remarks were instantly condemned across social media.

Jon Favreau described Carlson as “revolting” in a NSFW tweet. Comedian Billy Eichner, Julie Klausner and Ike Barinholtz called for Carlson to be fired over his “dangerous” rhetoric. Many others agreed.

“What Tucker Carlson is doing right now to incite mayhem and murder by roaming gangs of armed vigilantes absolutely requires Fox News to #FireTuckerCarlson,” tweeted@SethAbramson.

User @matthewamiller added: “Unspeakably dangerous. Inciting violence and murder. The lowest Fox has ever gone, though there is no reason to think they won’t keep getting worse.”

Others said Carlson’s statement “goes beyond racism” and highlights a glaring double standard that he perpetuates on his talk show.

“An innocent black guy is killed by police and Tucker Carlson calls him a thug,” tweeted CNN commentator Keith Boykins. “A guilty white guy murders two people and Tucker Carlson calls him a patriot.”

Others turned their attention to Carlson’s dwindling list of advertisers and threatened to boycott if they do not pull funding from “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

“You all just paid for Tucker Carlson to defend a murderer on air,” @BrianTylerCohen tweetedalong with a list of Carlson’s advertisers. @YourFriendJax added: “Boycott any brand that advertises on the Tucker Carlson show. Plain and Simple.”

Earlier Wednesday, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, part of the USA TODAY Network, that one victim had been shot in the head and another in the chest late Tuesday, just before midnight. Beth didn’t know where the other person was shot, but video posted on social media showed someone had been shot in the arm.

Rittenhouse thought of himself as a militia member trying to protect life and property, according to videos, interviews and social media posts.

“People are getting injured and our job is to protect this business,” Rittenhouse said in one clip. “And my job also is to protect people. If someone is hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle; I’ve gotta protect myself, obviously. But I also have my med kit.”

*story by USA Today