Fox News host Tucker Carlson didn’t say a critical word about his colleague Chris Wallace on Wednesday night, even as the Fox News anchor has taken a ton of heated criticism from right-wing pundits (and even some Fox News commentators) over their belief that Wallace treated President Donald Trump unfairly at Tuesday’s presidential debate.
Instead, the primetime conservative star sat back and let two of his favorite frequent guests trash his co-worker on air, saying nothing in return while nodding along silently.
The situation, meanwhile, recalled a similar incident last year which eventually resulted in the departure of longtime Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, who coincidentally debuted his new CNBC news show on Wednesday.
While a number of Fox News personalities took veiled shots at Wallace on Twitter over the way he moderated Tuesday’s off-the-rails debate, which featured the president steamrolling Wallace and constantly interrupting Joe Biden, criticism of the Fox News Sunday host had been largely absent from the network’s airwaves.
That was until Carlson’s program.
During his opening segment, the far-right host turned to conservative commentator Victor Davis Hanson to react to proposed changes to the upcoming debates in response to Tuesday’s debacle. At one point in a lengthy uninterrupted rant, Hanson took aim at Wallace for pressing Trump to condemn white supremacists and right-wing extremism.
“I would say if I could be a little more controversial, that I don’t like the format, this gotcha question,” Hanson said. “You know, getting on a horse and spurring them and then telling them you have two minutes to buck and then you’re going to stop them immediately.”
“If you’re going to incite a candidate then what do you expect,” he continued. “I mean, when you ask this question, ‘Didn’t you at Charlottesville say this,’ when he didn’t say it, and then he gets angry and you say, ‘Oh, two minutes, stop!’ You have to be absolutely symmetrical.”
Hanson went on the say the debate questions to Trump about white supremacy were “misrepresented” before adding that Wallace needed to also ask Biden about “the most recent controversial racial” comments made by Biden, namely his “You ain’t Black” controversy earlier this year.
Hanson wrapped up his point by grumbling about other questions he felt Trump was unfairly asked, specifically about whether he’d accept the results of the 2020 election.
“There wasn’t that symmetry and I think that marred the debate,” he concluded.
Towards the end of the program, Carlson brought on Mark Steyn to also discuss the debate. While Steyn isn’t a paid Fox News contributor, he has served as a guest host of Carlson’s show in the past and is a fixture of the program.
After grousing about debate moderators possibly having the ability to cut off debaters’ microphones in upcoming debates, Steyn then tossed some pointed insults Wallace’s way.
“Trump is brilliant at pithy responses—that’s what people remember,” Steyn declared. “So when Chris Wallace started whining that Trump was talking too much, Trump should have just given some of those 15-second answers. You know, like the climate change thing, nobody’s voting on climate change!”
Moments later, Steyn went after Wallace again.
“Sometimes righteous anger works,” he noted. “I don’t believe being told that you’ve got to condemn white supremacy is a good-faith question because it implies you somehow have been cozying up to it. It’s like, ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’”
Despite Steyn claiming Wallace had whined and asked bad-faith questions, Carlson offered nothing in response to those remarks or offered to stand up for his colleague.
This recalls the beginning of the on-air civil war that broke out between Carlson and Smith last year when Carlson allowed guest Joe diGenova to call Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano a “fool” with no pushback, prompting Smith to call out diGenova. This resulted in Carlson mocking Smith that evening and bringing diGenova back to react.
Weeks later, Smith was out at Fox News.