Fox News host Tucker Carlson said he despised then-President Donald Trump in a Jan. 4, 2021, text to an unnamed recipient, according to legal documents.
The text transcripts were among the documents released Tuesday as part of the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems. Dominion alleges that Fox News gave airtime to Trump’s 2020 election conspiracy claims, including that its voting machines were rigged, even though they knew the stories were false.
“We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights,” Carlson texted on Jan. 4, 2021. “I truly can’t wait.”
“I hate him passionately,” he added.
The newest texts paint an even clearer picture of just how much effort Carlson placed into placating Trump and his base in the wake of the 2020 election, despite his apparent personal disdain for the former president. In another court filing last month, Carlson was shown complaining that Trump was a “demonic force” and “a destroyer” in texts to his producer on Jan. 6, 2021, after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Publicly, Carlson continued to defend Trump, and later that year he released a documentary on the Fox Nation streaming service that suggested the Capitol riot was orchestrated as a “false flag” operation, among other baseless conspiracy theories.
Just this week, Carlson has attracted bipartisan condemnation for airing selectively edited clips of the deadly riot to portray the Trump supporters as “sightseers” and deny there was an insurrection at all.
Also among Tuesday’s batch of documents were messages from the network’s owner, Rupert Murdoch, wondering if Fox News hosts like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham went too far with their 2020 election commentary.
“Maybe Sean and Laura went too far. All very well for Sean to tell you he was in despair about Trump but what did he tell his viewers?” Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp, wrote in a Jan. 21, 2021, email to Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott.
Last month, it was revealed that Murdoch had admitted, under oath, that several Fox hosts had endorsed the false notion of a stolen election, gutting the network’s defense that they were simply repeating newsworthy comments by the president.
In an emailed statement Tuesday, Fox News accused Dominion of using ”more distortions and misinformation” to smear Fox News and claimed quotes had been twisted and misattributed.