Since the terror attacks in Israel on October 7, Ben Shapiro and Tucker Carlson have traded barbs over their respective positions.
During an interview last week, Carlson was asked by journalist Saagar Enjeti about Shapiro’s criticisms of him. That led the former Fox News primetime host to suggest The Daily Wire co-founder doesn’t “care” about the United States “at all.”
On Tuesday’s show, Megyn was joined by Shapiro to discuss Carlson’s comments and the intra-conservative foreign policy fight happening in the Republican Party.
Tucker Carlson Calls Out Ben Shapiro
Carlson appeared on the December 27 episode of Enjeti’s Breaking Points during which he discussed everything from foreign policy to UFOs. The headline-making portion of the interview came when he was asked about Shapiro directly.
The Tucker Carlson Network founder was explaining his ‘contrarian’ viewpoint on issues like COVID-19 vaccines and the war in Ukraine when Enjeti referenced Carlson’s willingness to “openly” give “the middle finger” to the establishment media and politicians:
Enjeti: I’ve watched it with Ukraine and I watch it now with Israel. You know, I watched in particular there was a lot of consternation around some comments you made I think by Ben Shapiro and others where you were like, ‘Well I’ve never seen this level of care about Americans who are dying of fentanyl,’ which I think is a traditional nationalist message. And yet I’ve watched the entire kind of right-wing ecosystem get embroiled in fundamentally what is a third-world conflict.
Now we can say ‘support,’ you know, ‘not support.’ We can have criticisms, etc of that. But what explains this like literal allegiance to the narrative on Ukraine, on Israel? Why is it that so many of these people don’t seem to have the same level of care for actual American citizens?
Carlson said he finds the trend “really distressing” and explained that his reaction to both the Russian-Ukraine conflict and the Israel-Hamas conflict has been from what he calls “an American perspective.”
In the case of Israel in particular, he emphasized that he feels “terrible for the people who were killed on October 7.” But his analysis, he noted, is based on a single question: “Is this good for [the U.S.] or is it not?” He shared that he has been “amazed by the intolerance and the willingness to immediately go to invective and character assassination” for suggesting such.
Carlson went on from there:
Carlson: I said first of all, if the people who live in Gaza who are being moved out are so evil and dangerous that they can’t live in the region, why would you want them to move into my country… So at that point, I felt very hostile about that because it showed such contempt for me and my family and my neighbors… It’s all of our country. And so I was like disgusted by that and I said so and I don’t know why that’s weird. Why wouldn’t I be offended by that?
And then it was immediately I’m a hater, a bigot, or something like that. None of that registered with me… But I did think it showed like the level of not just corruption, which I knew, but of like emotional instability and crazy… There are people on the ‘right’ who have spent the last two months every single day focused on a conflict in a foreign country as our own country becomes dangerously unstable, on the brink of financial collapse, with tens of millions of people who shouldn’t be here in the country, we don’t know their identities or the purpose of their being here.
Like, stuff that could destroy the country for real and make it impossible for my kids to live here. They’ve said nothing about that, and they’re focused with laser intensity on foreign conflicts that I’m like, at some point I’ve got four kids. If I’m so caught up in the problems of my neighbor’s children and completely ignoring my own children as they get addicted to drugs and kill themselves, you know, I’m not against helping my neighbors’ kids, but clearly I don’t love my kids. I mean, that’s you know, that’s the only logical conclusion. And they don’t care about the country at all. And that’s, you know, that’s kind of their prerogative. But I do. Because I have no choice, because I’m from here, my family’s been here hundreds of years, I plan to stay here.
I’m shocked by how little they care about the country and including the person you mentioned [Shapiro]. And I can’t imagine how someone like that could get an audience of people who claim to care about America because he doesn’t, obviously.
As Mediate reported, Shapiro had previously called out Carlson for “downplaying” the situation in Israel and accused him of “idiocy” and “moral stupidity” for likening the 10/7 terror attack to overdose deaths.
Ben Shapiro Responds
In response to hearing the clip, Shapiro admitted that he found Carlson’s remarks to be “a bit astonishing” and took issue with many of his claims. “If anybody has listened to my show… over the course of the last several months, you’ll see that I talk about all the issues that he mentions there – including the border issue – all the time,” he explained. He also noted that he “overtly” opposes the idea that the U.S. “has some sort of duty to import Palestinians from Gaza.”
Shapiro said he “would never doubt” Carlson’s “love for the country even” even though they “disagree wildly about a number of topics,” which is why he was disappointed with the assertion. “He just attributes to me a bunch of views I don’t hold and then proceeds to say that I don’t care about the country – obviously that’s silly and that’s untrue,” Shapiro explained. “I think it’s part and parcel of something that Tucker has had a habit of doing recently, which is: ‘We disagree, therefore, you don’t care about the people that I care about. You don’t care about the country.'”
Megyn said she expected to see Carlson and Shapiro “move past” the skirmish, but she did question whether it is indicative of broader Republican infighting. “There have historically been a lot of fractures on the right,” Shapiro noted. “There’s nothing new that’s happening here.”
He did, however, admit it might be “louder” than usual due to the lack of a “guiding voice of ideology inside the conservative movement writ large.” While Shapiro named Donald Trump “the leader of the conservative movement,” he said the former president has proven to be “open to a bunch of different perspectives” when it comes to foreign policy.
Ultimately, however, Shapiro knows where he himself stands. “Where I put myself is in sort of the ‘hawkish realist’ camp, meaning that there are a lot of conflicts in which the United States should not be involved,” he concluded. “But a complete United States isolationist retreat from the world is going to make for a significantly more dangerous world.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Shapiro by tuning in to episode 693 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.