Unlike Democrats who are saddled with President Joe Biden (for the time being), Republicans are free to play the “Will she? Won’t he?” game with a field of potential 2024 presidential contenders.
During a July 7 interview with Semafor co-founder and editor-in-chief Ben Smith, Carlson was asked if he had any “ambitions” to become president. (RELATED: ‘Made That Decision’: Donald Trump Drops Another Hint About His 2024 Plans)
“I’m curious about your ambitions. There are friends of yours, to the extent you’ve still got them in Washington, who are talking about your running for president in 2024, and I’m curious what your thought process is around that,” Smith asked Carlson.
Carlson didn’t immediately answer the question that Smith really wanted to know, that is, if Carlson was planning on running. Instead, he responded by explaining how he views ambition without uttering the word “president.”
“I have zero ambition,” Carlson told Smith. “Not just politically but in life. My ambition is to write my script by 8 p.m. And I’m not just saying that, as anyone who works with me or knows me, I don’t think that way. I don’t want power. I’ve never wanted power. I’m annoyed by things, I want them to change, but I’ve never been motivated by the desire to control people.”
— Semafor (@semafor) July 7, 2022
Despite Carlson saying he has zero ambition to hold power, he continues to make moves typical for people looking to gain support among essential supporters.
The Fox News host was the keynote speaker Friday at the influential conservative event, the FAMiLY Leadership Summit, sparking rumors of a possible presidential run.
The famous conservative summit is known for creating clear presidential paths for hopeful candidates who act as attendees and speakers, including former President Donald Trump in 2016.
On his Thursday show, Carlson announced that Fox Nation would live stream his Friday afternoon speech at the FAMiLY Leadership Summit in Iowa as a special episode titled “Tucker Goes To Iowa,” complete with a graphic of Carlson’s picture on an old-style campaign button.
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) July 15, 2022
When news broke in April that Carlson would attend the summit, CBS News’ Robert Costa joined those who speculated his speech at arguably the most important conservative event in Iowa meant that Carlson had plans to run for president.
“Tucker Carlson heading to Iowa, home of the presidential caucuses, this summer,” Costa tweeted. “This particular group’s gathering has long been an event attended by Republicans with presidential ambitions.”
But, Carlson doesn’t see himself as a Republican. He told Smith during the July Semafor interview that he despises the Republican Party.
“I’ve been highlighting this, not because I want to help the Republican Party, which I despise. I hope that’s clear. I don’t ever want to defend the Republican Party, which does not represent me,” Carlson told Smith.
“I despise the Libertarians, but my instincts are almost all Libertarian,” Carlson told Smith of his political views.
Carlson is the top mainstream voice for Conservatives, and his Fox News show’s ratings prove it. Carlson’s show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” was the most watched show on cable news on Thursday and beat both CNN and MSNBC’s competing shows by over 1 million viewers.
“Tucker Carlson Tonight” had 3.148 million total viewers on July 14, according to Adweek. (RELATED: ‘This Is Not A Mistake’: Tucker Calls For Impeachment Of Biden Over US Selling Oil To China)
In comparison, Anderson Cooper’s CNN show airing at the same time as Carlson’s only received 840,000 total viewers, and Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show received 1.227 million viewers, Adweek reported.
Republican pollster Frank Luntz promised the New York Times in May 2021 that Carlson would run for president.
Luntz told NYT podcast host Kara Swisher that Carlson’s criticism of his involvement with pharmaceutical companies accused of fostering the opioid epidemic — as well as renting his massive D.C. penthouse apartment to Republican House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy — was a way for Carlson to bolster his standing among influential conservatives.
Frank Luntz & Kevin McCarthy. Not only are they friends. They are roommates. pic.twitter.com/nYGXxV5bya
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) May 4, 2021
“Tucker realizes that he can make any accusation he wants to make, and that cadre, because he’s very popular among a certain segment of conservatism. I think Tucker is running for president,” Luntz told Swisher. “I think that’s what he’s going to do. And I think he’s going to try to demonize and destroy anyone who might stand up against him. And that’s all that this is.”
The latest data available from Nielson MRI Fusion shows Carlson isn’t just popular among “a certain segment of conservatism,” as Luntz claims. Carlson’s primetime show gets higher ratings than CNN and MSNBC among 25-54 year olds, a key age range often won by Democrats, according to the October 2021 data. Making matters even worse for Progressives, Carlson also beat out the far-left outlets for viewership among Democrats in the same age range.
Carlson responded to Luntz’s assumptions on the June 2021 Ruthless podcast, saying that he would only run for president if he were the “last person on earth.” (RELATED: Gone Are The Days Of General Patton)
“I’ve known and talked to every president, you know, for a while, for like more than 30 years. And you know, I can’t think of anyone whose life was improved by [becoming president],” Carlson said. “I mean, I guess if I was the last person on Earth, I could do it, but I mean, it seems pretty unlikely that I would be that guy.”
Yahoo News writer Tom LoBianco said that despite Carlson’s repeated pushback against speculation he wants to run for president, his speech at the FAMiLY Leadership Summit on Friday only fuels the rumors.
“Tucker Carlson, who has flatly said he doesn’t want to run in 2024, opens by citing spending 2000 in Iowa w/ his then-young child and mentioning he may have done the ‘full Grassley’ … he’s also talking up his connections to Iowa, which is, well, very #2024,” tweeted LoBianco.