Fox News host Tucker Carlson reacted to President Joe Biden’s primetime national address on COVID-19 by casting doubt on vaccines, wondering aloud on Thursday night why the president didn’t mention “all of the people who might not want to take the shot.”
Carlson, fresh off the Pentagon directly calling him out for mocking women in the U.S. military, made sure that his presence was felt throughout Biden’s speech. While Fox News did carry the speech in its entirety, the network included an inset box labeled “LIVE TUCKER REACTION” that was focused on Carlson throughout the speech.
Furthermore, as Biden promised a nation exhausted by a yearlong pandemic that it is on the verge of returning to normalcy, Fox News aired chyrons that read: “Biden Speech Nearly Finished; Tucker Will Respond.” Once the president wrapped up his remarks, which featured him imploring every American to “do their part” to defeat the virus, Carlson immediately took to the air to trash it.
“A very strange address, surreal at points, like the Biden presidency itself,” the Fox News star declared. “It seems like a dream sequence. The first part of the address described the sadness of the last year, people shut out from hospitals as their loved ones died alone, people losing hope, people losing businesses, whole generations of children stunted by school closures.”
Carlson continued: “No sense at all of how this happened or who backed it, his plan consisting essentially of vaccines, vaccines, and more vaccines.”
Noting that Biden said there will soon be enough federally approved vaccines for every person in America, Carlson proceeded to then openly question the efficacy of immunizations while seemingly rallying to the defense of anti-vaxxers.
“The military will give you that shot, and if you take that shot, things potentially could get back to normal,” Carlson said. “No mention at all of the people who might not want to take the shot.”
The Fox News host added: “As the president said, if you take that shot, wear your mask, and listen to Dr. Fauci, it is possible that you might be able to gather in small groups with the ones you love for the Fourth of July. We might have to rescind that right, but it’s possible, if you are obedient, you will get it.”
The conservative primetime star, after rhetorically shouting “how dare you tell us who we can spend the Fourth of July with,” went on to welcome spy novelist turned COVID contrarian Alex Berenson.
Berenson, who has spent much of the past year raising skepticism about lockdowns, masks, and other coronavirus guidelines, has recently become one of the most vocal vaccine skeptics. In fact, earlier this week, Berenson falsely claimed on Carlson’s show that Israel’s vaccine rollout hasn’t worked while outright lying about the vaccine’s effectiveness.
After Berenson expressed relief that “there was not a lot of talk about making vaccines mandatory” from the president, Carlson groused that the federal government could still find ways to force the population to get a shot.
“There are many kinds of mandatory, and you can have effectively mandatory but there is no government mandate,” the Fox host stated. “But you can’t fly on an airplane, you can’t go into buildings, you can’t stay in a hotel, you can’t live life without a vaccine. I have to say, after watching half an hour of that, it wouldn’t shock me if that’s their plan.”
Carlson, meanwhile, has a long history of fearmongering about vaccines. Just last month, he made unfounded claims that experts are “clearly” lying to the public about the safety of coronavirus immunizations. This past December, Carlson straight-up told his viewers not to trust the vaccines, warning them that our leaders are using the shots as a form of “social control.”
While recent polls reveal that a growing share of Americans are willing to take the vaccine, a large chunk of Republicans still say they won’t get a shot. A PBS survey released on Thursday shows that 41 percent of Republicans, and 49 percent of GOP men, say they will refuse to receive one of the three federally approved vaccines.