Fox News host Tucker Carlson delivered a 30 minute address Monday night, documenting the terror and destruction across the the country, and calling out both the Left and the Right for their their lack of leadership. Watch Carlson’s monologue here, or read the transcript below.
“The nation went up in flames this weekend. No one in charge stood up to save America. Our leaders dithered. They cowered. They openly sided with the destroyers. In many cases, they egged them on.
Later, they will deny doing any of this. They are denying it now. But you know the truth because you saw it happen.
This is how nations collapse. When no one in authority keeps the order, and when someone in our professional class encourage violence, American citizens are forced to defend themselves. They have no choice. No one else is going to defend them — they know that now.
It’s possible that more people will be hurt in coming days — that would be a tragedy. But in an environment like this, more violence could very well lead to a cascade of new tragedies, to something far bigger and more destructive than anything we have seen so far.
So, this isn’t over. It might simply be the beginning. We pray it isn’t.
It’s hard to think clearly about anything that’s going on right now. The chaos, the destruction, the relentless lying from above — it’s all too much. Americans are bewildered, and they are afraid. But most of all, they are filled with rage, angrier than they have ever been.
The worst people in our society have taken control. They did nothing to build this country. Now, they are tearing it down. They are rushing us toward mass suicide.
So, how do we respond? We must protect ourselves and our families. Once again, we have no choice, but to do that. But we cannot allow ourselves to become like they are.
We are not animals, we are Americans. In the face of such indecency, we must resolve to be decent. We believe this country has a future. We intend for our children to live and thrive here. That is what we are defending.
All our leaders do is set us against each other. They stage a never-ending national cockfight for their profit and amusement.
But we’re not going to play along. We will love our neighbors relentlessly in spite of all of it, not because they look like us or share our political views. But we love them because they are human beings, and they are Americans. Those are the bonds that tie us together — the bonds our leaders seek to destroy. We can’t let them.
We should start by being unsparingly honest about what is happening right now. Truth is our defense, and it’s our country’s last hope.
We plan to use this hour to create a record of this moment right now, to show you what’s really going on in your country. We feel an obligation to do that before the facts are spun into propaganda by the liars or the images are pulled off the internet forever, as many of them inevitably will be.
We’re going to begin with where my family lives and has lived for 35 years, in the northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C. This is called Mac Market. It’s on MacArthur Boulevard, which is named after General MacArthur during the war. It’s our neighborhood store; it’s walking distance from my house.
People meet there every morning for coffee. Kids come after school for candy. It’s as close to a community gathering spot as we have.
The market is run by the Kim family. The Kims are immigrants from Korea. They are revered in our neighborhood for their decency and their hard work. When they lost their son several years ago, the neighbors grieved for them.
The Kims are not political. They’ve never hurt anyone. They only make things better. But last night, the mob came for their store. At 1:00 a.m. Monday morning, Mr. Kim was kneeling alone on the sidewalk trying to salvage what he has spent his life building.
Scenes like this played out in hundreds of neighborhoods across this country, maybe yours.
Here are a few. In Columbia, S.C., a man called the police when things began to fall apart. Rioters saw him call. They surrounded that man, and they beat him. Onlookers laughed as he was pummeled.
In Rochester, N.Y., a group of eight men smashed the windows of a jewelry store. The couple who lived above the shop emerged to confront them. Both of them were viciously beaten with a ladder and a two-by-four.
In Dallas, a man armed with what appeared to be a sword did his best to defend a business from looters. The mob bashed him in the head with a rock and a skateboard. It’s hard to watch.
In San Jose, riders with crowbar stormed the highway and attacked vehicles, trying to pull drivers from their cars. In Birmingham, Ala., a local reporter called Stephen Quinn was beaten, and then he was robbed on live television as he tried to cover the looting.
In Portland, Ore., a man was beaten apparently for daring to carry an American flag in public. He never released the flag, by the way.
How many of these people died? How many were murdered by the rioters? We don’t know yet. At the least, some are likely disabled for life. They were beaten that badly.
And then there was the mass stealing. It seemed to be everywhere over the weekend.
In Buckhead, an upscale part of Atlanta, rioters stole a Tesla from a dealership and drove it through an indoor mall just to underscore how completely out of control things were. In Portland, Oregon, mobs looted Louis Vuitton, Apple and Chase Bank among many others. They often set fires as they left. In Chicago, protesters fought systemic racism by running through a Nike store stealing shoes.
And in Washington, D.C., a federal city surrounded by military bases and protected at all times by the single highest concentration of law enforcement in the world, criminals operated with apparent impunity in the streets. They looted Georgetown. They smashed the windows in federal buildings. They desecrated virtually every war memorial in the city a week after Memorial Day.
And then, as you likely know, Sunday night they set fire to St. John’s Episcopal Church, a 200-year-old building that has welcomed every American president since James Madison. It is right across the street from the White House.
For people stuck inside anywhere during this insanity — the sick, the elderly, the powerless — the experience was terrifying. Listen to this woman from Minneapolis.
Reporter: How was last night?
Unidentified woman: Scary. They went straight to Office Max, the Dollar Store and every store over here that I go to. I have nowhere to go now. I have no way to get there because the buses aren’t running.
So, that’s what’s happening in America right now. We didn’t play all of the tape we have. There’s a lot of it. Some of the tape is too shocking, and honestly, it’s too incendiary. We understand that television is an emotional medium, and we don’t want to make things worse. We’re not going to, but you get the point.
The point is, this is a national emergency. It’s a profound national emergency. But you would never know that from listening to our elected leaders. Almost all of them pretend this is not really happening or if it is happening, it is just part of America’s long tradition of vigorous political discourse.
Politicians on both sides tell us that this is all about the death of a man in police custody in Minneapolis last week. The people burning down our country are “protesters”. They’re engaged in a legitimate “protest.”
Okay, what exactly are those protesters’ demands? What are they asking for? If Congress agreed to enact their program, what would the program be?
Not a single person even hints the answer because there is not an answer. No one has bothered to pull the guys beating up old ladies on the street or looting Gucci, but you’ve got to wonder how many of them have ever even heard of George Floyd. And if they have heard of him, what difference would it make? Violence and looting are not forms of political expression.
If you were killed tomorrow, how many buildings would you want burned to the ground in your memory? How many old women smashed in the face on the street in your name? None, we hope, because you’re not a vicious psychopath, like the people you’ve just watched.
In fact, what we’re watching is not a political protest. It’s the opposite of a political protest. It is an attack on the idea of politics. The rioters you have seen are trying to topple our political system.
That system is how we resolve our differences without using violence. But these people want a new system, one that is governed by force. Do what we say or we will hurt you.
You know this. You can see it for yourself on television; you have. But our leaders continue to lie. They tell us that’s not true. This isn’t happening. It’s just a protest.
Some Democrats have openly embraced what is happening. Really they don’t have much of a choice. These are their voters cleaning out the Rolex store. These riots effectively are the largest Joe Biden for President rally on record.
In gratitude for that, more than a dozen Joe Biden for President campaign staffers donated money to the rioters in Minneapolis, and then they bragged about it on Twitter.
No Democratic leader can directly criticize what is happening right now. And in fact, some have joined in. Over the weekend, the Democratic Party of Fairfax, Virginia, which is an important Democratic organization, released the following statement on Twitter: “Riots are an integral part of this country’s march towards progress.”
Progress. Burning buildings, teargas, dead bodies, the screaming injured, criminal anarchy — to the Democratic Party of Fairfax, that is called progress.
Celebrity after celebrity has weighed in to agree on social media. From his fortified compound, basketball star LeBron James has used his accounts to encourage more rioting. Bernie Sanders surrogate Shaun King has done the same. So has Black Lives Matter leader, DeRay Mckesson.
Colin Kaepernick openly calls for violence. Here’s a quote: “The cries for peace will rain down and when they do, they will land on deaf ears,” he says approvingly.
Imagine shouting fire in a crowded theater, a theater with 325 million people in it called our country. That’s what they’ve been doing and have been doing for days.
When the violence began, what we needed more than anything was clarity in the middle of this. It’s hard to see when the tear gas starts. Someone in America needed to tell the truth to the country. Instead, almost all of our so-called conservative leaders joined the left’s chorus, as if on cue.
On Friday, as American cities were being destroyed by mobs, the vice president United States refused to say anything specific about the riots we were watching on television. Instead, Mike Pence scolded America for its racism.
Carly Fiorina, once a leading Republican presidential candidate tweeted that — and we’re quoting, “It’s white America that now must see the truth, speak the truth and act on the truth.”
Meanwhile, Kay Coles James, who is the president of the Heritage Foundation — that’s the largest conservative think tank in the country. You may have sent them money, hopefully for the last time. Kay Coles James wrote a long scream denouncing America as an irredeemably racist nation: “How many times will protests have to occur?”
Got that? “Have to occur.” Like the rest of us caused this by our sinfulness.
The message from our leaders on the right, as on the left, was unambiguous: Don’t complain. You deserve what’s happening to you.
No one jumped in more forcefully or seemed angrier in America than former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. “Tonight I turned on the news and I am heartbroken,” Haley wrote. “It’s important to understand that the death of George Ford was personal and painful for many. In order to heal, it needs to be personal and painful for everyone.”
But wait a second, you may be wondering, how am I “personally responsible” for the behavior of a Minneapolis police officer? I’ve never even been to Minneapolis, you may think to yourself. And why is some politician telling me I’m required to be upset about it?
Those are all good questions. Nikki Haley did not answer those questions explaining. It is not her strong suit — that would require thinking.
What Nikki Haley does best is moral blackmail. During the 2016 campaign, she compared Donald Trump to the racist mass murderer, Dylann Roof. How is Donald Trump similar to a serial killer? Nikki Haley never explained that. She wasn’t trying to educate anyone.
Her only goal was political advantage. Nikki Haley is exceptionally good at getting what she wants. She is happy to denounce you as a racist in order to get it. She just did.
In this case, Nikki Haley’s wish came true. The riots were indeed “personal and painful” for everyone. And then the pain kept increasing. Two days after she wrote that, dozens of American cities had been thoroughly trashed, some destroyed.
A country already on the brink of recession suddenly faced economic collapse. An already fearful population locked down for months because of the coronavirus had been thoroughly and completely terrorized.
Mission accomplished. Let’s hope Nikki Haley is pleased. We’ve now atoned.
How did the Trump administration respond to the horrors going on around us? Well, Sunday morning, the country’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, did a live interview from the White House lawn. Here’s how it began:
Robert O’Brien, U.S. National Security Adviser: First thing I want to say, on behalf of the president –he said this to the family — but our hearts and prayers are going out to the Floyd family. We mourn with them and we grieve with them and what happened there was horrific and I can’t even imagine what that poor family is going through as his videos are played over and over again. That should have never happened in America and it’s a tragic thing.
The president said that from the start, and we’re with the family and as the President said, we’re with the peaceful protesters.
“We’re with the peaceful protesters,” O’Brien announced.
Really? Can you be more specific about that? Who are you talking about exactly? Is it the people spitting foam as they scream, “F the police”? Is it the one standing next to the arsonist doing nothing as they set fire to buildings? Is it the kids laughing as they film the looting and the beatings on their iPhones?
Maybe it’s the famous people in L.A. who are raising money online to support the rioters? They’re all just peaceful protesters. Yes, we support that. It’s who we are.
What about the president? Where is he during all of this?
Well, on Friday night, after the show, Leland Vitter and a cameraman headed to Lafayette Square in Washington to cover what was happening outside the White House. Here’s what happened next.
Reporter: A Fox News reporter is getting chased out by these — by the George Floyd protesters here in front of — at Lafayette Park.
Look, there’s water being thrown on the reporter here. This is just — they took his mic. The just threw the mic at the reporter here. As you see guys, things are spiraling here quick at the protest.
That was in Lafayette Square in the center of our capital city. The tape raised a troubling question: If you can’t keep a Fox News correspondent from getting attacked directly across the street from your house, how can you protect my family? How are you going to protect the country? How hard are you trying?
On Twitter the next morning, the president reassured America that he and his family were just fine. The federally funded bodyguards had kept them safe. He did not mention protecting the rest of the nation, much of which was then on fire. He seemed aware only of himself.
For people who like Donald Trump, who voted for Donald Trump, who support his policies, who have defended him for years and years against the most absurd kinds of slander, this was a distressing moment.
The first requirement of leadership is that you watch over the people in your care. That’s what soldiers want from their officers. It’s what families need from their fathers. It’s what voters demand from their presidents.
People will put up with almost anything if you do that. You can regularly say embarrassing things on television. You can hire Omarosa to work at the White House. All of that will be forgiven if you protect your people.
But if you do not protect them — or worse than that, if you seem like you can’t be bothered to protect them — then you’re done. It’s over. People will not forgive weakness. That’s the one thing, by the way, that is not a partisan point. It is human nature.
Nero is the only Roman emperor whose name most people still remember. Why? Because he abandoned his nation in a time of crisis. And 2,000 years later, we still don’t forgive him.
Donald Trump’s response to these riots, which is ongoing, is the singular test of his presidency. About an hour ago, the president announced that he’s going to marshal all available forces — military and civilian — to stop these riots.
President Donald Trump: If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.
Good for him.
Immediately after that address, the president walked over to St. John’s, which, we just told you, was burning fewer than 24 hours ago, and that provided a powerful symbolic gesture. It was a declaration that this country — our national symbols, our oldest institutions — will not be desecrated and defeated by nihilistic destruction. We fervently hope this all works.
What Americans want most right now is an end to this chaos. They want their cities to be saved. They want this to stop immediately. If the commander-in-chief cannot stop it, he will lose in November. The left will blame him for the atrocities they encouraged, and some voters will agree.
Donald Trump is the president. Presidents save countries. That’s their job. That’s why we hire them. It’s that simple.
Some key advisers around the president don’t seem to understand this or the gravity of the moment. No matter what happens, they’ll tell you, our voters aren’t going anywhere. The trailer parks are rock solid. What choice do they have? They’ve got to vote for us.
Jared Kushner, for one, has made that point out loud. No one has more contempt for Donald Trump’s voters than Jared Kushner does, and no one expresses it more frequently.
In 2016, Donald Trump ran as a law and order candidate because he meant it, and his views remain fundamentally unchanged today. But the president’s famously sharp instincts, the ones that won him the presidency almost four years ago, have been since subverted at every level by Jared Kushner. This is true on immigration, on foreign policy, and especially on law enforcement.
As crime in this country continues to rise, Jared Kushner has led a highly aggressive effort to let more criminals out of prison and back on to the streets. This is reckless. At this moment in time, it is insane. It continues to happen.
The president seems to sense this. At times he seems aware he is being led in the wrong direction. He often derides Kushner as a liberal and that’s correct, Kushner is. But Kushner has convinced the president that throwing open the prisons is the key to winning African-American votes in the fall and that those votes are essential to his reelection.
Several times over the past few days, the president has signaled that he would very much like to crack down on rioters — that is his instinct. If you’ve watched him, you’ll believe it. But every time he has been talked out of it by Jared Kushner and by aides that Kushner has hired and controls.
Kushner’s assumption, apparently, is that African-American voters like looting. That is wrong. Normal Americans of all colors hate looting, obviously. Why wouldn’t they hate looting? They are decent people.
So one of the lessons of all that we have seen and we’ve seen so much over the past five days is America is going to change because of this — that is certain. What can we learn from it? What should we demand going forward?
The first thing to know is that we can no longer accept race-baiting from our leaders. Never. That has become so common now that we barely notice it. But it is dividing and destroying this country. We should make them stop.
On Sunday, for example, Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle tweeted this: “I want to acknowledge that much of the violence and destruction both here in Seattle and across the country has been instigated and perpetrated by white men.”
Is that factually true? Who knows? Who cares? The skin color of criminals is totally irrelevant to how we prosecute them for the crimes they commit. It must be irrelevant. Otherwise, we’re committing the bigotry we claim to abhor.
Yet everywhere on television and social media, prominent people are now talking exactly like this. Not just a few crackpots — thousands of people, well-known people. They are amplifying race hatred at exactly the moment that we need at least at the moment when it’s the most dangerous.
This is Art Acevedo. Acevedo with the police chief of Houston. Houston is the fourth biggest city in this country.
Acevedo’s job, his sworn duty, is to enforce the law fairly and evenly regardless of the ethnicity of the suspect. Watch this and tell us if you think he is capable of doing that. Do you think he’s even interested?
Art Acevedo, chief of the Houston Police department: People for — as an immigrant, we are raised like this. But you know what? We built this country … We have got news for them. We ain’t going nowhere. We ain’t going nowhere. I think the ship has sailed.
So if you’ve got hate in your heart for people of color, get over it, because this city is a minority-majority city.
“My people.” If a police chief of any color — any color — said that, we would attack him instantly, and we would mean it. It is wrong.
When you run a law enforcement agency, you don’t get to consider “my people” much less claim your people deserve some kind of special consideration because they “built this country.” No. Your obligation is not to consider your people, but all people and consider them equally. Period.
Art Acevedo is not even trying to do that. Imagine being arrested by this creep. Think you’d get a fair shake?
There’s almost nothing that hurts America more than this. If you are worried about the rise of extremism here — and honestly, you should be worried — this kind of insanity is absolutely certain to cause it.
And let’s be clear, when we say extremism, we’re not talking about unconventional views that get you bounced off Twitter or scolded by the corporate HR department. We mean actual extremism where people espouse violence against other people, where large groups come to believe their racial identity is the most important thing about them.
Now, at this moment, no matter what they’re telling you, no matter what they claim for political advantage, there’s not a huge amount of that in this country, thank God. Most people still think of themselves as Americans and want to. But if the left keeps talking like this, there definitely will be and very soon. And you don’t want to live here when that happens. We should demand they stop immediately.
Enforcing the law is not white supremacy. Insisting that everyone in the country follow the same rules is not racism. In fact, it’s the answer to racism. It is equality — equality under the law. It is the one thing we must defend, and if we don’t, it’s over. Things fall apart.
Weakness invites aggression. That is true in nature and it’s every bit as true in human society. Our leaders are weak. Predators know it. That’s why this is happening.
If you let people spray paint obscenities in City Hall, pretty soon they are overturning cop cars. If you put up with that, they’ll come right to the front door of the police precinct, and they will burn it down.
The next thing you know, they are beating people to death in shopping malls. And then what? What happens the next time the mob doesn’t like something? What will the mob demand next?
Let’s hope we never find out because we are close.”
Adapted from Tucker Carlson’s monologue from “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on June 1, 2020.