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Tucker Carlson backtracks on private texts saying he hates Trump: 'I love Trump'

"I’m enraged that my private texts were pulled,” Carlson said during an appearance on WABC radio.
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Tucker Carlson on Tuesday tried to walk back texts after the 2020 election saying he was fed up with then-President Donald Trump's false claims of rigged voting.Rich Graessle / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images file

Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday attempted to walk back his private text messages saying that he was fed up with then-President Donald Trump after the 2020 election, which were revealed in documents this month as part of a $1.6 billion Dominion Voting Systems defamation suit against the network.

During an appearance on WABC radio, Carlson said he was “enraged” that his private texts were revealed.

“And I think this is in the text, and those were all grabbed completely illegitimately, in my opinion, in this court case, which I guess I’m not allowed to talk about, but I’m enraged that my private texts were pulled,” he said.

The Fox News host said those texts were pulled at a moment when he was texting with one of his producers because “some idiot on the Trump campaign had sent us the name of these dead voters who had voted,” referring to his false reporting after the 2020 election that echoed the Trump campaign’s unfounded claims of dead people who were fraudulently counted as voting in Georgia. After Carlson’s segment aired, a local Georgia news outlet debunked his claim, finding that two of the allegedly dead voters were alive and legally registered to vote, with CNN reporting days later that a third of the supposedly dead voters was also still living.

“And we went and I repeated them on air, and it turns out some of them were alive,” Carlson said, referring to the campaign's accusation. “So I was just — I felt humiliated.”

Carlson’s interview came the same day as a key hearing in Dominion’s lawsuit against Fox News, in which a Delaware judge considered whether to rule on any part of the case ahead of a jury trial.

Carlson was among the network’s hosts and executives who decried Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen in private text messages and emails revealed in hundreds of pages of court filings made public this month, despite the network’s promotion of the false claims on air. 

In private text messages Jan. 4, 2021, Carlson said he was done with Trump and his unfounded claims of a rigged election. 

“We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait,” he texted an unidentified person.

“I hate him passionately. ... I can’t handle much more of this,” he added.

Carlson’s private texts starkly contrasted what he had been telling viewers during his primetime show.

“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 in another text message, referring to the “last four years.” “But come on. There isn’t really an upside to Trump.”

Fox News at the time came under fire from its core audience after it reported the 2020 election results accurately.

A judge unsealed the documents containing the private messages this month as part of Dominion’s defamation suit against Fox News.

In a statement after the judge’s ruling, Fox News accused Dominion of using “more distractions and misinformation” in an effort to a “smear FOX News and trample on free speech and freedom of the press.”