During his Fox News show on Thursday night, Tucker Carlson tried to defend President Trump against accusations that he’s been using racial dogwhistles in his tirades against NFL players who kneel during the national anthem. But by the time it was over, his guest, an African-American attorney named Monique Pressley, left him stammering.
Tucker began the conversation by alluding to Spike Lee’s remark that Trump’s comments about NFL players invoke the sort of rhetoric one would’ve heard on a slave plantation.
“When you have someone like that on, who said something racially inflammatory and untrue, you should push back a little bit when he theorizes about how this is about the plantation mentality on the basis of no evidence,” Carlson said. “If you’re a journalist you’ve gotta say, ‘Whoa, can you prove that?’”
In response, Pressley took down the notion that there isn’t anything to Lee’s perspective.
“He didn’t theorize — he used an analogy, and using an analogy that actually came to the minds of many people in African-American communities and Caucasian communities and Latino or brown communities,” she began. “When our president, the president of this country, referring to African-American citizens, taxpaying citizens who are gainfully employed, making good money in this country in the NFL as professional athletes — when he referred to them in the manner he did, as ‘sons of bitches’ and said that ‘the owners ought to get those sons of bitches out of there, just drag them out of there,’ that language makes it seem like these owners have a proprietary interest in the bodies of these African-American athletes.”
Pressley’s analysis left Carlson stammering. He turned to attacking her educational background.
“You know what, I don’t know what school you went to, but don’t give my that postmodern nonsense,” he told her. “Whatever… spare me.”
Earlier in the interview, Pressley explained why Trump’s criticisms of national anthem protests — protests that originally began with Colin Kaepernick taking a knee to protest police brutality against people of color — is particularly troubling to African Americans.
Tucker invites @MoniquePressley to discuss NFL protests
She explains fear of police in black communities
He calls her a crackpot pic.twitter.com/T2ERIY5LMS
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 29, 2017
“They’re terrified that the very flag that we revere and adhere to, the very flag that symbolizes the best of freedom in this country, is the same symbol that is now being used to represent race superiority, the same symbol that’s now being used to represent things that are not freedom,” Pressley said.
Carlson replied by calling her comments “a crackpot theory.”
While the discussion between Pressley and Carlson focused on comments Trump made during a rally in Alabama on September 22, it came on the same day that Trump deployed yet another racist dogwhistle against NFL players. During a Fox & Friends interview, the president said he thinks NFL owners are reluctant to take action against players who don’t stand during the national anthem because they’re afraid of them.
Earlier this month, Carlson promoted the white nationalist social media site Gab on his show, characterizing the forum — which is rife with blatant racism — as a legitimate “alternative.”