Tucker Carlson loses it in an accidentally revealing rant comparing an Asian-American Senator to the KKK

Tucker Carlson loses it in an accidentally revealing rant comparing an Asian-American Senator to the KKK
Fox News // Tucker Carlson

In his Fox News show Wednesday night, Tucker Carlson sounded off against Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth — like so many of his targets, a Democratic woman of color. But his criticism on Wednesday was particularly severe, comparing her to former West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd, who was a member of the KKK.

"Robert Byrd was the Tammy Duckworth of his day," Carlson said. "Byrd was working for as a recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan, which was very much the Yale University of its time — the source of so much poison in society."

Carlson was upset about Duckworth's recent stand against the Biden administration. Along with Hawaii Democrat Sen. Mazie Hirono, Duckworth, who was born in Thailand, threatened to vote against Biden's white nominees for federal positions until the president included more Asian American nominees. Though President Biden selected a vice presidential running mate of Indian descent, and Katherine Tai, whose parents immigrated from Taiwan, is serving as U.S. trade representative, no one running any of the 15 Cabinet-level agencies is Asian-American. Duckworth and Hirono eventually backed down from their veto threat when the White House agreed to appoint a senior Asian American and Pacific Islander liaison and to work further on the issue.

But for someone like Carlson, the entire demand was unfathomable. He was outraged, drawing a comparison between Duckworth's demands and Sen. Byrd's opposition to people of color working in FDR's administration.

This argument fits nicely in a larger narrative Carlson likes to tell his viewers. His program is consistently devoted to the message that white people are under threat and that they are the true victims of discrimination now — a reversal of the old order.

But there's a huge, obvious flaw in Carlson's argument, and the flaw comes from a concept Carlson likes to ignore: white supremacy.

What makes Byrd such a horrific figure in American history is not simply that he cared about race. His ideology was built around supporting and maintaining a system of white supremacy in politics and society. When he fought to keep African Americans out of the administration, he was working to preserve the power of the existing white ruling class over an oppressed minority.

Despite Carlson's claims, this doesn't have anything to do with Duckworth's position. In fact, her goals were precisely the opposite of Byrd's. Whatever you think of her particular tactics or arguments in the case, her goal was representation and inclusion — not racial supremacy. Though Carlson argued she was discriminating against white nominees, this is absurd on its face. Biden has selected many white nominees for his Cabinet, and Duckworth has voted for every single one of them.

She's not fighting to keep white people out of the Cabinet, and has no interest in doing so. She's done the opposite: cast votes to include white people in the Cabinet.

But her demand is simply that Asian American and Pacific Islander people get included, too. Her veto threat of white nominees isn't about targeting those nominees, but it's using the only power she has to gain concessions from the administration while avoiding standing in the way of nominees who are contributing to the administration's diversity. This is a position in opposition to white supremacy, but it doesn't replace it with Asian supremacy — it just replaces it with an inclusive power structure. Byrd would've hated it. And it's little surprise that Tucker Carlson hates it too.

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