Liberal pundits, politicians and media outlets recently lashed out at Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson over his opposition to U.S. military intervention in Ukraine. But despite the backlash, Carlson’s views are actually popular among ordinary Americans, according to recent polling.
Carlson argued that while some Washington D.C. insiders have insisted it is a “patriotic duty to hate Vladimir Putin,” they have ignored the fact that it is ordinary Americans who will shoulder the “measurable” costs of war with Russia. “That’s not a guess. Joe Biden has admitted this,” Carlson said. While Carlson opposes U.S. military intervention in the crisis, he has explicitly stated that Putin started the war and is to blame for the disasters following his invasion.
Why do Democrats want you to hate Putin? Has Putin shipped every middle class job in your town to Russia? Did he manufacture a worldwide pandemic that wrecked your business? Is he teaching your kids to embrace racial discrimination? Is he making fentanyl? Does he eat dogs? pic.twitter.com/xYEvapjbNT
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) February 23, 2022
But leftist legacy media, political commentators and politicians, such as Republican Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger and California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, wasted no time in accusing Carlson of excusing the Russian dictator.
Television host Jimmy Kimmel argued that Carlson “knows this is garbage he’s feeding the people who watch him” and that 2022 is “the golden age of talking dicks on television.”
Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe, in a since-deleted tweet, suggested that Carlson’s comments might amount to “’treason’ as defined by Article III of the U.S. Constitution.” Kinzinger accused Carlson of telling his viewers that “Putin isn’t your enemy. Your fellow American is.” (RELATED: ‘You Would’ve Sold The Country’: ‘The View’ Co-Hosts Accuse Republicans Of Wanting ‘To Bond’ With Russia)
In 35 seconds here, @TuckerCarlson basically said: “Putin isn’t your enemy. Your fellow American is.”
This is beyond dangerous, to say the least https://t.co/n76SrvS3dr
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) February 23, 2022
An MSNBC op-ed claimed that Carlson’s “aversion to foreign intervention” was “in accordance with paleoconservative and white nationalist principles.” Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton argued that Carlson’s opinions made the U.S. “sound weak, like traitors, like we’re giving in to Vladimir Putin.”
On CNN, Swalwell claimed Republicans and Carlson were “rooting for Russia.” He later tweeted that Carlson “cheered Russia on until Americans rallied behind Ukraine” and that the Fox News host “sided with Putin.”
Why am I saying it, Tucker?
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) March 1, 2022
Cheri Jacobus, a self-described “Never Trumper,” claimed in a tweet that Carlson is the missing “link” in what she saw as a nefarious connection between Trump and Putin. Jacobus referred to Carlson as a “traitor” and blasted his “millions of slobbering fans.” Activist Amy Siskand said Carlson “has been rooting for Putin,” calling both the Fox News host and Ohio Senate Candidate J.D. Vance, also an opponent of U.S. military intervention, “traitors to democracy.”
In spite of the backlash to Carlson’s position, Americans have shown bipartisan support for the argument that the U.S. should embrace a restrained foreign policy.
A poll conducted by Rasmussen in January found that less than 1 in 3 American voters want the U.S. to send troops to defend Ukraine. American opposition to further U.S. involvement in the conflict held true even a month later, as an AP-NORC poll found that only 26% of Americans wanted the U.S. to play a major role in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Slightly more Democrats than Republicans support the U.S. playing a major role in the conflict, but the number of Democrats who support a major U.S. role remains low, at only 32%.
A CNN poll found that while most Americans support economic sanctions against Russia, 58% still opposed the U.S. taking direct military action. And while an Ipsos poll found that a majority of Americans do support placing sanctions on Russia, only a minority support sending troops to aid in the conflict. The poll found that 66% of Americans believe that given current economic conditions in the U.S., America cannot afford to become militarily involved in the conflict in Ukraine. Indeed, both Republicans and Democrats fear China’s influence in the world more than Russia’s, according to another AP-NORC poll conducted in February.
Americans are, at the moment at least, unwilling to become embroiled in the conflict due to more immediate economic needs. After a year in which record inflation ate up American wages, gas prices skyrocketed, and grocery shelves were left unstocked, Americans feel they can’t afford another war if they can help it. (RELATED: Lawmakers React To Russian Invasion Of Ukraine, Call For More Sanctions)
But it is unclear if Washington lawmakers and officials will change their tune given public opinion on the matter. When a reporter questioned White House press secretary Jen Psaki about the poll, Psaki said that the Biden administration would not take public opinion into consideration when crafting a foreign policy response to the conflict.
“We make national security decisions based on what’s best for our country’s national security, not on the latest polling,” Psaki said.