If you are looking for a pulse to keep your finger on this summer, look no further than the veins of the red-blooded Tucker Carlson, as he goes head to head with former President Donald J. Trump. The interview conducted between the two on Wednesday evening will go down in the annals of history as one of the greatest ever, so I highly suggest you watch it before the ravenous news cycle moves onto something different, like Trump getting arrested. But if you have a life, here’s my review of how it all went down.
Tucker Carlson, in welcoming the audience to the show, starts as he means to go on, with a quick introductory punch followed by an awkwardly hanging moment of dead air that definitely could have been cut out. Perhaps it was kept in due to the visual value of Trump looking near Tucker’s direction, before quickly looking back before his gaze is met, like a giddy schoolboy desperately trying to catch a glimpse of his crush. This wouldn’t be the last tense, romantic moment between the two, but in this instance Tucker showed no signs of reciprocating Trump’s interest. It may not surprise you to know that Tucker’s aloof professionalism would not last long.
Tucker began this face-off with a hard stare and a question of why Trump had not seen fit to attend the Republican debate, which was currently raging on some unwatched television channel that same night. This told us all we needed to know. Tucker Carlson came to play. Tucker Carlson means business. Trump then proceeded to pivot from the question presented to instead make fun of his political rivals with the use of increasingly absurd nicknames. It’s not often I’ve heard these nicknames aloud in interviews, away from the Twitter timeline. But the value of hearing ‘Ron DeSanctimonious’ out loud, was much appreciated. It flows surprisingly well as a nickname, considering the long word shoehorned in. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t know what sanctimonious means, but whatever it is, I know Ron DeSantis is it.
Trump’s ability to pivot from serious topics to just being allowed to discuss the many failures of his rivals in a way that gets people like me to talk about how funny his nicknames are rather than the fact that he was arrested yesterday is one of his most impressive attributes. It’s an unprecedented, insanely unique political skill, to get away with slagging off people that haven’t even been brought up. It’s as if he has no political strategist, nor even any desire to do well in elections, but purely wants to use his platform to condescend whomever he has beef with. It would make politics so much more watchable if any self-serious career politicians did this. Imagine a Rishi Sunak press conference in which he gets distracted from the original matter and starts listing the failings of news channels; I’d actually watch it for a start. Maybe it’s a sign of Tucker not being a great interviewer that Trump gets to do this unchecked for the majority of the interview though.
If the interview started on any rails at all it was well and truly off them by five(!!!) minutes in when Tucker asked Trump if he thinks Epstein killed himself. They got to this point so quickly that I didn’t even notice how they did it, I’m not sure whether this was going exactly to plan or if there was a plan at all. If there is a structure to Tucker’s questions in interviews, it’s an indecipherable mystery to all but, and maybe including, Tucker himself. If you are looking for an interview in which Trump is truly allowed to flourish and shine as a performance artist, this is it. Not only do they flitter between topics like they’re the last two guests after everyone else has left the party, but Tucker allows, even encourages Trump, to take the conversational reins in whichever way he desires. Tucker is a soft crowd for Trump, probably the easiest laughs he could ever hope to get short of giving a best man speech at a wedding, which, ironically, I believe Trump would also excel at, given enough material about the bride’s sordid romantic past. By the way, if you were curious about Trump’s answer to the Epstein question, he surprisingly thought Epstein was not murdered. Though he rationalised this by referring, in a comically flippant way, to the recently incarcerated, suicidal Epstein, awaiting trial for innumerable counts of paedophilia as: “not doing too well”.
Occasionally Trump will bring Tucker into the conversation, which is almost always a bad idea. In this particular instance, Tucker sternly and confidently says “He was killed.” I’m sure anyone watching had the same thought as me at this moment, which was “Dude, you’re literally the interviewer! How is it possible that this is a real interview?” Tucker Carlson, even in this most prominent of situations, when given an inch to talk about his personal opinions, will go on a tirade not unlike that of an ordinary member of the public talking a little too loudly at the bar to his friends, in the hope that the people at the next table will hear him and agree with what he has to say. It’s an absolute circus and it’s a pleasure to sit in the front row. I sometimes like to imagine the heads of state around the world, that take themselves so seriously, feeling obliged to watch this interview (after all, it’s easy to forget the interviewee is the once and potentially future leader of the free world) and having to treat it like it is anything other than a complete joke. It’s easy to watch it in an amused way and laugh along at the completely ridiculous nature of it, before imagining Vladimir Putin, sitting down with a sigh and having to watch 45 minutes of this because it actually matters. Which, in turn, makes it even funnier.
If you have 45 minutes to spare, you’re guaranteed a good time with this light-hearted romp. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with two of the most prominent figures in contemporary American politics and I can’t wait to see what they come out with next. I’ll be eagerly waiting.
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