Tucker Carlson's former editor said the Fox host always had a 'mean streak' but his anti-mask comments were 'repulsive'

  • The conservative pundit Bill Kristol founded the magazine where Tucker Carlson started his career.
  • Kristol weighed in on Carlson’s recent anti-mask comments, calling them “really terrible.”
  • He said Carlson “always had a slightly mean streak” but said the latest comments went beyond that.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tucker Carlson’s old editor had some choice words to say about the Fox News host’s recent anti-mask rant. 

On Monday, Carlson went on a diatribe against parents who make their children wear face masks outdoors, saying it “should be illegal” and amounts to “child abuse.” Carlson even told viewers to call the police if they saw it happening.

“Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid in Walmart — call the police immediately,” Carlson said.

In a CNN appearance on Tuesday, the conservative pundit Bill Kristol was asked to weigh in Carlson’s latest comments, as his former editor. Kristol founded The Weekly Standard, where Carlson started his career in the 1990s.

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Kristol said that Carlson “always had a slightly mean streak” and was a “bit of a bully” when they worked together, but said his latest comments go beyond “being a little outrageous and trolling.”

He went on to say that there were many children with autoimmune diseases whose friends would put on masks “out of decency, out of safety, out of excess caution sometimes, but it doesn’t hurt anyone.”

“For Tucker Carlson to do this, I mean, I really find it repulsive,” Kristol said. “He’s a propagandist now, really a low order.”

Kristol went on to suggest that guests face consequences for appearing on Carlson’s show.

“I think we need to think in a creative way about the ways to put pressure on Fox, ways to put pressure on him [Carlson], guests who go on his show. I haven’t been willing to go on for several years. It’s really terrible, the mask thing,” Kristol said. 

Fox News did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment on Kristol’s interview.

This isn’t the first time Kristol has criticized Carlson. 

In an interview with CNBC in 2018, Kristol said Carlson’s opinions were verging towards racism. 

“He had always a little touch of Pat Buchananism, I would say, paleo-conservatism. But that’s very different from what he’s become now. I mean, it is close now to racism, white — I mean, I don’t know if it’s racism exactly — but ethno-nationalism of some kind, let’s call it. A combination of dumbing down … and stirring people’s emotions in a very unhealthy way,” Kristol said. 

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