Following the Supreme Court decision allowing the Biden administration to remove razor wiring installed by Texas to injure migrants at the Rio Grande, former Fox News host and “great replacement” theory promoter Tucker Carlson issued a disturbing and dangerous call for racist vigilantism at the border.
In a message posted to the social media site formerly known as Twitter, Carlson decried a so-called “invasion” of the country, and questioned to his more than 11 million followers why the “real men of Texas” aren’t out “protecting their state and the nation.”
“Tucker is using X to actively court deadly racist political violence. Yes, it’s Tucker but we cannot roll our eyes as [t]his man is using social media to incite domestic terrorism,” America’s Voice Political Director Zachary Mueller responded on Bluesky. “Tucker is engaging in a predictable pattern of a political leader dehumanizes an Other then justifies violent vigilante violence. It is hard to overstate the serious danger this represents.”
We have already seen the downstream, real world consequences related to this white nationalist conspiracy theory and the type of explosive rhetoric cited by Carlson. It played out in Texas, where a racist mass gunman frenzied over “invasion” conspiracy theory murdered 23 people and injured 22 others at an El Paso Walmart in 2019. In a 2022 bulletin, the Department of Homeland Security warned that its white supremacist violence that’s the biggest domestic threat to American security.
We know that when powerful and influential figures push for chaos and violence, people act on it. Just look at January 6, when indicted former President Donald Trump incited a deadly insurrection that sought to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. This is a tragically predictable pattern, yet in recent weeks Abbott has lamented not being able to shoot migrants at the border and more recently courted border militia vigilantism.
Now Carlson, who still holds a massive nativist megaphone courtesy of the Elon Musk-owned X platform despite his exit from Fox News, is further escalating this call for lawlessness and violence over a court order affirming that the federal government has authority over the border. “Although I’m pleased that Border Patrol agents can return to their jobs, I’m deeply troubled by the xenophobia trumpeted by racists like Ken Paxton and Tucker Carlson in response,” Rep. Veronica Escobar tweeted.
Yesterday's SCOTUS ruling reaffirmed the federal government's jurisdiction over immigration.
Although I'm pleased that Border Patrol agents can return to their jobs, I'm deeply troubled by the xenophobia trumpeted by racists like Ken Paxton and Tucker Carlson in response. https://t.co/zvEyhfSq2v
— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) January 23, 2024
“This is nothing short of inciting domestic terrorism,” Mario Carrillo, Texas-based Campaigns Manager for America’s Voice, wrote at Bluesky. “Tucker Carlson knows what he’s doing and is essentially asking ‘men of Texas’ to go out and murder migrants, much like what happened in El Paso.”
Carlson has been explicitly endorsing the great replacement conspiracy theory for years but yesterday he linked the theory with an all but explicit call for racist vigilante violence. Individually this rhetoric is extremely dangerous. The radicalization inside the Republican Party now means his remarks are not just radioactive but part of a particular pattern and speak to a larger looming threat facing the nation that we ignore at American’s peril.