Tucker Carlson has jumped to Donald Trump’s defense as a possible indictment of the former president looms over hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016.
Apparently, in the Fox News star’s world, this was a totally normal thing to do.
“Settlements like this, whatever you think of them, are common, both among famous people, celebrities and in corporate America,” he said Tuesday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” arguing that a non-disclosure agreement is not a big deal.
“In this case, you can believe whatever side you want to believe, but paying people not to talk about things ― hush money ― is ordinary in modern America.”
According to Carlson, there was no wrongdoing ― and the entire case boils down to the media and Trump’s critics believing that “everything he does is a crime.”
It comes as no surprise that Carlson sees such behavior as commonplace. Fox News has a long history of paying out settlements to make misconduct allegations against the network go away. Carlson’s prime-time slot, for example, became available in 2017 after former host Bill O’Reilly reached settlements totaling around $13 million with five women who accused him of sexual harassment.
In a post on his social media site over the weekend, Trump signaled that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday as part of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation into the $130,000 payment to Daniels in the final days before the 2016 presidential election. Daniels was allegedly on the cusp of going public about an affair she claims she had with Trump a decade earlier.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney and fixer who made the payment, served time in prison for campaign finance violations over the incident. Trump has admitted to reimbursing Cohen.
Trump’s legal team has argued that the payments didn’t qualify as campaign expenditures that needed to be reported because Trump would have paid it regardless of the campaign. Even if that argument were to hold up, there are other legal issues at play involving potential falsification of business records when Trump reimbursed Cohen for the payments.
Carlson’s defense raised some eyebrows on social media: