‘You Need a Little Education’: GOP Congressman and Tucker Carlson Go at It in FIERY Clash on Russia


Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) may have gotten a more combative interview than he bargained for when he appeared with Tucker Carlson on Wednesday night.

Last week Turner and 14 other Republican members of Congress wrote a letter to President Joe Biden calling on him “to immediately provide support to the Ukrainians” after satellite images showed a buildup of Russian military forces along Ukraine’s northern border.

“Tucker, thank you so much for bringing attention to this issue,” said Turner after Carlson welcomed him to the show. “This is one the mainstream media is not going to be reporting and is incredibly important for people to understand what Russia is doing and really the threat to the United States and the threat to the United States’ allies.”

After saying that many military families watch his show, Carlson told Turner, “I wonder if you could explain to them why it is in America’s interest that their kids risk their lives in Ukraine.”

Turner said Ukraine is an important strategic ally of the United States, which committed to to Ukraine’s territorial integrity. He alluded to the Budapest Memorandum signed by the U.S., Russia, and Ukraine (among other states) in 1994. Russia violated that agreement when it annexed Crimea in 2014.

The congressman referenced the much maligned U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and said Ukraine could be “debacle number two” for Biden’s foreign policy.

“So the lesson of 20 years in Afghanistan and the tragic and cowardly and counterproductive exit from Afghanistan is that we need more troops in Ukraine?” asked Carlson. “So why should the average American care about the territorial integrity of Ukraine, sincerely?

Turner reiterated his position that Ukraine “is it incredibly important to America” strategically given its location on the Black Sea and several NATO countries. Turner noted he hasn’t asked that the U.S. go to war with Russia, “but it is incredibly important” that the U.S. provides weapons and intelligence to the Ukrainians.

“But why is it incredibly important to Americans?” asked Carlson. “I mean, I know from a Ukrainian perspective it’s incredibly important, but why is it important enough to risk American lives to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine when by the way our own territorial integrity has been flagrantly violated by a million foreign nationals coming in over the past 10 months? I wonder why the emphasis on Ukraine’s borders and not ours.”

“Well, I think everyone has emphasis on our borders, Tucker. But certainly I think you would–”

“Have you called for American troops to our borders?”

“Everyone has called for American troops that is on our side, Tucker,” replied Turner, growing visibly irritated. “But I think what you’re missing is the fact that because the president has failed in Afghanistan, both Russia and China are looking at threatening their neighbors, including Taiwan, including Ukraine, countries that are important to both our allies and to the strategic importance of the areas in which they are.”

Turner restated he believes the U.S. should provide Ukraine with weapons and intelligence.

“But hold on,” Carlson interjected. “Why would we take Ukraine’s side and not Russia’s side? It’s a sincere question. If you’re looking at America’s perspective, why? Who’s got the energy reserves? Who’s the major player in world affairs? Who’s the potential counterbalance against China, which is the actual threat? Why would we take Ukraine’s side? Why wouldn’t we be on Russia’s side? I’m totally confused.”

“Well, clearly,” Turner shot back. “Maybe if you get out a map and you look to see where the Black Sea is and Romania, where we have our missile defense system, with Greece, and Turkey, the entrance to the Black Sea and then from there you look at what the conflicts have already been on Russia’s areas there. Ukraine is a democracy. Russia is an authoritarian regime that is seeking to impose its will upon a validly elected democracy in Ukraine and we’re on the side of democracy. That’s what people were chasing those planes Afghanistan and wouldn’t be chasing Russian ones.”

Carlson wasn’t exactly sold.

“I guess I’m for democracy in other countries,” he said. “I guess. But I’m really for American and I just think that our interest is in counterbalancing the actual threat, which is China. And the only other country with any throw weight that might help us do that is Russia. And our continuation of the Cold War has pushed Russia toward China, and that does not serve our interests in any way. Does it?”

Carlson has previously suggested that the U.S. side with Ukraine over Russia.

Turner cited Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

“How did that hurt America exactly?” Carlson replied. “They came into Crimea. I guess I’m against that, but I didn’t notice a detectable decline in American living standards.”

The congressman cited Russia militarization of Crimea.

“Ok, but why do I care again?” said Carlson.

“You care because what Russia is doing as they are rebuilding their area access of denial with Kaliningrad, Crimea, and Syria to fortify what they had when they had the Warsaw Pact countries, many of which now are in NATO and headed toward NATO, so that we can make certain that liberty and democracy is strengthened,” said Turner. “You should be against – I’m sure you are, Tucker – any country using tanks to invade another and putting their will on that country and changing that country’s borders.”

“Yeah, Aaademically I am,” replied the Fox News host. “But you know, there are a lot of priorities on the map here. Last question, so you sent this letter to President Biden asking for the commitment of the American troops to a foreign country—”

“You misread the letter,” said Turner. “Because what it said, it actually tells specifically – we did not say send troops into Ukraine. We said, make certain that there’s a military presence in the area so we can provide aid to Ukraine in two important areas, intelligence. If we have troops in the area we can watch, we know what happens, we can know what washer is doing. At the second is lethal weapon so Ukraine can defend itself.”

“I got it,” said Carlson. Send lawyers, guns, and money.”

The host added, “Where are the Republicans demanding that we send 101st [Airborne Division] or whatever it takes to close the border?”

“I supported Donald Trump in closing the border, including defending him in his impeachment trial, which you yourself reported,” said Turner. “And that border was being closed under the policies that we had under Donald Trump which I supported when I supported Donald Trump.”

“Actually,” said Carlson, “You wrote a letter to Donald Trump in which you said yeah, protect the border, but make certain that we don’t in any way take troops or materiel from our foreign commitments and bring them to the border. You said that in your letter. So I just thought that’s just a different perspective.”

Turner replied, “Donald Trump sent lethal weapons and intelligence. I’m a senior member of the armed services committee and the intelligence committee. What I’ve asked for in that letter, Donald Trump did.”

“Oh, I’m aware.” said Carlson. “I thought it was stupid then, I think it’s stupid now.”

Turner later concluded his appearance by saying, “Tucker, I don’t know who you’re arguing with here because I’m on your side all of those issues, except apparently you need a little education on Ukraine. I’d be glad to send you some stuff on it. Donald Trump thought it was important and I supported Donald Trump’s policies there.”

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Mike is a Mediaite senior editor who covers the news in primetime.