Watch: Tucker Carlson botches presidential history while defending Richard Nixon

Watch: Tucker Carlson botches presidential history while defending Richard Nixon
Image via screengrab.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Thursday night complained about a supposed lack of historical education in the United States during a soliloquy in which he asserted that former President Richard Nixon was a victim of the "deep state."

Carlson's conspiracy du jour was that Nixon was "forced" out of the White House for asking too many questions about official government narratives, such as who really killed President John F. Kennedy on November 22nd, 1963.

Carlson also claimed – wrongly – that Nixon's successor, Gerald Ford, was the only president who was never formally elected. In fact, there were four others: John Tyler (1841-1845), Millard Fillmore (1850-1853), Andrew Johnson (1865-1869), and Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885). Each of them assumed office when the incumbent either died from pneumonia or food poisoning (William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor) or was assassinated (Abraham Lincoln and James A. Garfield).

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Carlson began:

So if you wanna understand, if you really wanna understand how the American government actually works at the highest levels – and if you wanna know why they don't teach history anymore – one thing you should is that the most popular president in American history was Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon. Yet somehow, without a single vote being cast by a single American voter, Richard Nixon was kicked out of office and replaced by the only unelected president in American history. So we went from the most popular president to a president nobody voted for.

Wait a minute, you may ask, 'Why didn't I know that? Wasn't Richard Nixon a criminal? Wasn't he despised by all decent people?' No, he wasn't. In fact, if any president can claim to be the people's choice it was Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon was reelected in 1972 by the largest margin of the popular vote ever recorded before or since.

That too is inaccurate. In terms of the percentage of the popular vote earned, Nixon's 23.2 percent margin in 1972 was lower than those of three of his presidential predecessors: Warren G. Harding's 26.2 in 1920, Calvin Coolidge's 25.2 in 1924, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 24.3 in 1932.

Carlson pressed on:

Nixon got seventeen million more votes than his opponent. Less than two years later, he was gone. He was forced to resign, and in his place, an obedient servant of the federal agencies called Gerald Ford took over the White House. How did that happen? Well, it's a long story but here are the highlights and they tell you a lot. Richard Nixon believed that elements in the federal bureaucracy were working to undermine the American system of government and had been doing that for a long time. He often said that. He was absolutely right.

On June 23rd, 1972, Nixon met with the then-CIA Director Richard Helms at the White House. During the conversation – which thankfully was tape-recorded – Nixon suggested he knew, quote, 'who shot John,' meaning President John F. Kennedy. Nixon further implied that the CIA was directly involved in Kennedy's assassination, which we now know it was. Helms' telling response? Total silence.

Recall as well that Nixon personally sabotaged Johnson's peace talks in Vietnam to help him defeat Democratic Vice President Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 contest.

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Nixon beat Humphrey, having carried 32 states and 301 Electoral College votes. In 1972, Nixon cruised to reelection, crushing Democratic South Dakota Governor George McGovern in a 49-state, 520-vote blowout in the Electoral College.

Nineteen months later, Nixon resigned on Friday, August 9th, 1974 to avoid getting impeached – and possibly even criminally prosecuted – for covering up his role in the Watergate scandal.

Ford pardoned him that September.

Watch below via Media Matters for America or at this link.

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