On his Fox News show Monday, Tucker Carlson sparred with a liberal radio host who believes the conservative understanding of the Constitution’s Second Amendment inspired James Hodgkinson to carry out his brazen attack on Republican congressmen earlier this month.
On June 14, Hodgkinson, a diehard liberal and supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), attacked a group of congressional Republicans practicing for the annual congressional baseball game between Republicans and Democrats. The game raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for charity.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was shot during the attack and nearly lost his life.
While many on the right have pointed to Hodgkinson’s political beliefs to explain the motive behind the attack, there are others who have said the conservative narrative surrounding the Second Amendment — which essentially says that it’s a “last resort” provision to stop a tyrannical government — inspired Hodgkinson because he may have interpreted President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress to be tyrannical.
Carlson debated one of those people Monday night — Seattle radio host Dave Ross, who suggested Hodgkinson may have felt justified in his actions using the conservative understanding of the Second Amendment.
The Fox News host said he thought the suggestion was ludicrous: “If you’re suggesting that he believed he was overthrowing tyranny … the truth is the Constitution says you need to take a judicious view of this. I mean, there is no tyranny, there was no tyranny at work that this guy was responding to — that’s just silly.”
“But how do you define tyranny?” Ross responded, before explaining that in the “darker corners” of the internet there are many people who believe Trump’s government is tyrannical.
“If the Second Amendment was used in the way [conservatives] have talked about, this is what it would look like,” Ross explained, pointing to Hodgkinson’s actions.
But Carlson wasn’t buying Ross’ explanation and said that Hodgkinson was clearly only motivated by his liberal politics and hatred of Republicans, not a conservative’s understanding of the Second Amendment.
“This is like when a jihadi shoots up a gay club and calls 911 to say he’s waging 'jihad' and people are like, 'I don’t know why he did it.' He did it for the reasons he said he did it!” Carlson said.
“I’m saying this guy’s specific brand of politics spurred him to do what he did,” he explained. “And you’re trying to spread the blame around to people who don’t deserve any of the blame."
However, Ross said that he’s merely pointing out that Hodgkinson may have interpreted the Second Amendment as most Americans do: As something to be used as a last resort against a tyrannical government. The whole point of pointing this out, Ross said, was because he wanted to put a "kibosh" to that idea.
“The idea is to point out that when people who call upon the Second Amendment as the last resort against a tyrannical government — when they say it is useful in this day and age in that way — this is what that would look like,” Ross explained.
Then Carlson completely upended Ross’ point.
“It’s not, it’s not what this would look like,” Carlson said. “Because Steve Scalise was not a despot trying to control the life of Hodgkinson. I mean, that’s absurd, so, nice try."