“I hate him passionately”: New lawsuit texts show Tucker Carlson admit Trump era was a “disaster”

"We're all pretending we've got a lot to show for it," Carlson wrote. "There really isn't an upside to Trump"

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published March 8, 2023 9:01AM (EST)

Former President Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson chat during the 3rd round of the LIV Golf Invitational Series Bedminster on July 31, 2022 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson chat during the 3rd round of the LIV Golf Invitational Series Bedminster on July 31, 2022 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said he hates former President Donald Trump "passionately" and trashed his election lies even as he aired them on his show, according to a new court filing in Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion lawsuit against the network.

Text messages included in the filing show Carlson excited to put the Trump era behind him two days before the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

"We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can't wait," Carlson wrote to staffers.

"I want nothing more," one of the people in the text thread replied.

"I hate him passionately," Carlson wrote.

Carlson then lamented Trump's four years in office.

"We're all pretending we've got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it's been is too tough to digest," he wrote. "But come on. There really isn't an upside to Trump."

A previous Dominion filing showed Carlson express concern after the 2020 election about angering Trump and potentially sending his viewers to the more far-right outlet Newsmax.

"He could easily destroy us if we play it wrong," Carlson wrote, calling Trump a "demonic force, a destroyer."

Carlson also texted hosts Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity to complain about the TrumpWorld conspiracy theories after the election, according to Tuesday's filing.

"The whole thing seems insane to me," he wrote. "And Sidney Powell won't release the evidence. Which I hate."

Carlson added that Powell was "making everyone paranoid and crazy, including me."

Dominion's lawsuit alleges that Fox News knowingly aired false claims about election fraud and has released a trove of internal communications showing prominent Fox News hosts acknowledge that the conspiracy theories they aired were false. One filing included Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch's acknowledgment that certain hosts "endorsed" the false claims.

Fox has denied any wrongdoing and a spokesperson on Tuesday accused Dominion of "using more distortions and misinformation in their PR campaign to smear FOX News and trample on free speech and freedom of the press."

"We already know they will say and do anything to try to win this case, but to twist and even misattribute quotes to the highest levels of our company is truly beyond the pale," the spokesperson said.

The filing comes as Carlson faces backlash for his Jan. 6 revisionist history after he got access to thousands of hours of Jan. 6 footage from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. Carlson aired clips on his show this week, describing Trump supporters who invaded the Capitol as "orderly and meek" and angry because they "believed that the election they had just voted in had been unfairly conducted, and they were right."

A growing number of Republican senators who were in the Capitol that day rejected Carlson's spin.

"I was here. I was down there, and I saw maybe a few tourists, a few people who got caught up in things. But when you see police barricades breached, when you see police officers assaulted, all of that," Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., told reporters, calling Carlson's version of events "bullshit."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called it a "mistake" for Fox to air a version of events "that's completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks."

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Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said in an internal memo obtained by CNN that Carlson's segment was "filled with offensive and misleading conclusions" and that Carlson's team never reached out to the department "to provide accurate context."

"The program conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video. The commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments," Manger said.

Former FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann predicted that Carlson's Jan. 6 spin could play right into Dominion's hands in what he described as "what could be a life-or-death civil suit."

"It's not just $1.6 billion, there's also the potential for punitive damages," he told MSNBC. "The evidence we've seen so far suggests that is a lively possibility… They have Tucker Carlson, who may well be a witness in that trial, say things that are misleading and phony… I was thinking [Dominion's] lawyers must be licking their chops at what was being said because it reminded me of Donald Trump, where he says things that are just going to make his legal case that much worse."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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Aggregate Capitol Riot Donald Trump Fox News January 6 Politics Tucker Carlson