Senator Thom Tillis calls Fox News Monday night’s coverage of the U.S. Capitol uprising.
“I think it’s bullshit,” Tillis told reporters.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson has released never-before-seen footage from inside the Capitol, which was given to him by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Carlson called the January 6 commission and members of the media liars for the way they portrayed the insurgents over the past two years and said the attackers were simply tourists worshiping the Capitol.
“I was here,” Tillis, a Republican, replied in remarks to NBC News. “I was down there and I saw maybe a few tourists, a few people getting caught up in things. But when you see police barricades being breached, when you see police officers being assaulted, all that… if you were just a tourist, you probably should have lined up at the visitor center and come in orderly.”
Tillis reaffirmed his statements to McClatchy, adding that he believes Carlson’s reporting is as wrong as if a “liberal media outlet” says there were mostly peaceful protests “with a burning Kenosha”, referring to the Wisconsin riots that outbreaks after police shoot Jacob Blake in August 2020.
“There’s no room for either extreme,” Tillis said.
Tillis and January 6
Tillis is in his second term in the Senate and recounted his memories of January 6 as he walked from an underground train car to the Senate Chamber on the second floor of the US Capitol.
He said it started like any other day with protesters at the mall voicing their displeasure. Then things took a grim turn.
“I saw people breaking through fences, assaulting police officers, using pepper spray, smashing windows, destroying this building that we’re walking through right now,” Tillis said. “And it was wrong.”
Was Tillis ever afraid for his safety?
“Not at all,” Tillis said. “Because I would have picked up on something and defended myself.”
Tuesday’s response to Carlson’s Jan. 6 coverage isn’t the first time Tillis has spoken out against the day’s events. He previously called it “a dark day in American history that should not be repeated.” He asked the US Justice Department to investigate the uprising and hold accountable anyone who broke the law in an effort to stop President Joe Biden’s election certification and keep former President Donald Trump in power.
Pushback to January 6 accounts
Not long after McCarthy became House speaker, he released 44,000 hours of video from Capitol security cameras exclusively to Carlson.
The decision was met with opposition from both political parties. Concerns included whether McCarthy may have inappropriately released security details and why he chose to release the footage to a news anchor who has repeatedly pushed conspiracy theories about the uprising.
Other members of Congress have spoken out against Carlson and McCarthy since Monday night’s segment aired, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who called it “one of the most embarrassing hours we’ve ever seen on cable TV.”
Schumer said McCarthy is as guilty as Carlson and has further eroded the country’s democracy.