Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) slammed Fox News host Tucker Carlson for his portrayal of the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol on his show on Monday night after he was given exclusive access to hours of Capitol surveillance footage from the day of the attack by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that he aligned himself with U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger’s statement calling Carlson’s portrayal of the Jan. 6 attack “offensive and misleading.”
“With regard to the presentation on Fox News last night, I want to associate myself entirely with the opinion of the chief of the Capitol police about what happened on Jan. 6,” McConnell said.
“My concern is how it was depicted. Clearly, the chief of the Capitol Police, in my view, correctly describes what most of us witnessed firsthand on January 6th. So that’s my reaction to it,” McConnell added. “It was a mistake, in my view, for Fox News to depict this in a way that’s completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks.”
During his show on Monday night, Carlson showed footage of police officers accompanying Jacob Chansley, known also as the “QAnon Shaman,” around the Capitol and described them as acting like “tour guides.”
There is no audio in the videos, and it is not clear whether the officers are speaking with Chansley. However, court documents say officers engaged with the rioters, including Chansley, asking them to leave but they refused. Several Capitol Police officers also testified that they were outnumbered when the rioters breached the Capitol and so many of them were able to walk inside the building with little to no resistance from officers.
Carlson also aired footage which he says shows Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, after he was attacked, giving instructions to rioters in the Capitol. It’s not clear how Carlson came to the conclusion that it was Officer Sicknick in the video.
Sicknick died one day after the attack after suffering a stroke due to the events of Jan. 6, the medical examiner said.
According to Carlson, Sicknick looked “healthy and vigorous” after he was attacked and so “it’s hard to imagine” that he was severely injured by the rioters, according to CNN.
Manger pushed back in his statement on Tuesday, slamming Carlson for pushing “outrageous and false” allegations that officers acted as “tour guides,” adding, “those officers did their best to use de-escalation tactics to try to talk to rioters into getting each other to leave the building.”
Manger said “the most disturbing accusation from last night was that our late friend and colleague Brian Sicknick’s death had nothing to do with heroic actions on Jan. 6.”
“The department maintains, as anyone with common sense would, that had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day,” the chief added.