Tucker Carlson blasts DeSantis' online surrogates: 'Nastiest people'

 December 20, 2023

Ron DeSantis was a frequent guest on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show, but a rift has opened up between the two as Carlson expresses disappointment with the governor's presidential campaign.

The top journalist described DeSantis' online surrogates as some of the "nastiest" people he has ever seen in a dramatic on-air takedown at Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest. 

Carlson also expressed concern about DeSantis being controlled by donors.

“You really get the sense that Ron DeSantis – who I liked as governor – the people who represent him online are the nastiest, the stupidest, and the most zero-sum people I’ve ever seen in my life, and I don’t think that reflects him, but it’s like, this is kind of small ball.”

DeSantis campaign fires back

Many of DeSantis' top surrogates are known for disparaging Trump supporters as "cult members" for refusing to break with the former president.

To many - Carlson included - the off-putting and "zero-sum" attitude of DeSantis' online backers has been a drag on his campaign.

"And I like him, ok? I think he’s been a good governor, I just want to be clear about that," Carlson said.

The former Fox News star remains an enormously popular conservative personality, so the comments probably didn't go over well at the DeSantis campaign.

In fact, Christina Pushaw - DeSantis' top online surrogate and former press secretary - gave an angry response to Tucker on X.

“Hearing that some people find the rhetoric from DeSantis spokespeople vile and appalling,” Pushaw wrote. “I guess we should do better and rise to the refined level of Team Trump," she said, before rattling off some allegations about Trump's online supporters.

Tucker for VP?

While Carlson said he still likes DeSantis, he appears to have some doubts about the governor that he didn't before.

Carlson said that DeSantis has proven susceptible to pressure from donors who support involvement in the Ukraine war.

DeSantis described the conflict as a "territorial dispute" in a response to Carlson last year, but the governor later changed his view and has continued to dither on the subject.

"One donor got him to change his view and all these so-called conservatives are just supporting that like it’s the most important thing. I feel like, who are these people and what is their problem? Like what is going on with them?" Carlson said.

In the same interview, Carlson said he would work to oppose Trump's campaign if he picked "creature of the oligarchs" Nikki Haley for vice president. Carlson is a longtime critic of Haley, known for her aggressive foreign policy.

Carlson - who recently called himself an "active Trump supporter" - has been floated as a potential running mate for Trump, but Carlson has been cool to the idea.

“I am a talk show host,” Carlson told the audience at AmericaFest. “That is what I do."

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