Fox News host Tucker Carlson doubled down on his attacks on Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth on Tuesday night after she hit back at him for claiming she “hates America” Monday night.
Carlon said on air Tuesday that his producers invited Duckworth to appear on the program for a “vigorous, reasoned exchange between adults,” but claimed her representatives “informed us that before even considering our request, we must first issue a public apology for criticizing” the senator.
“Keep in mind that Tammy Duckworth is not a child, at least not technically – she is a sitting United States senator, who is often described as a hero,” Carlson continued. “Yet Duckworth is too afraid to defend her own statements on a cable TV show. What a coward.”
Carlson began his Monday segment on Duckworth saying, “You’re not supposed to criticize Tammy Duckworth in any way because she once served in the military.” Glossing over the fact that she lost both her legs in 2004 when insurgents shot down the Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting in Iraq, he continued, “Most people just ignore her. But when Duckworth does speak in public, you’re reminded what a deeply silly and unimpressive person she is.”
Carlson was reacting to an interview Duckworth gave on CNN in which she said the United States should have a “national dialogue” when asked whether monuments honoring George Washington should be removed because he owned slaves.
“These people actually hate America,” Carlson continued. “No longer a question about that. And yet at the same time, they desperately want to control America more than anything. And that leads to the most basic of all questions: Can you really lead a country that you hate?”
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Duckworth, who is a leading contender to be presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate replied on Twitter, writing, “Does @TuckerCarlson want to walk a mile in my legs and then tell me whether or not I love America?”
Duckworth said last Thursday that she would put a hold on the confirmation of over 1,000 military promotions until Defense Secretary Mark Esper provided assurances on the promotion of a former White House aide who testified in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who provided some of the most damaging testimony during an investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives into Trump's dealings with Ukraine, is up for a promotion to colonel. However, there is concern his promotion could be affected due to political reasons.
"Our military is supposed to be the ultimate meritocracy. It is simply unprecedented and wrong for any commander in chief to meddle in routine military matters at all," said Duckworth.
Duckworth intended to place a hold on 1,123 senior military service members' promotions until Esper "confirms in writing that he did not, or will not, block the expected and deserved promotion of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman to colonel," a statement said.
Duckworth's action would make it far more difficult and time-consuming to approve such promotions, especially given how little time the Senate has before the November elections.
Vindman and his twin brother were escorted from the White House in February.
"We sent him on his way to a much different location, and the military can handle him any way they want," Trump said at the time.
Esper said in November that Vindman should not fear retaliation over his testimony.