In a rare challenge to President Trump on Fox News in the early days, host Tucker Carlson on Monday expressed dismay at the president's handling of demonstrations against racism and police brutality around the country – urging Trump to be tougher, no less, by beating down protesters.
Mr. Carlson, a conservative media star whose voice wields influence with Trump, blamed the president for weakness and warned that his ability to restore order would be "the unique test of his presidency."
"If you can't keep a Fox News correspondent from being attacked directly across from your house, how can you protect my family?" Carlson said, referring to a Fox News reporter, Leland Vittert, who was swarmed and chased by protesters near the White House over the weekend.
Continuing to take the president directly, he brought up Omarosa Manigault Newman, who gained fame as a contestant on Mr. Trump's NBC TV show," The Apprentice, "and later served in his administration.
"You can regularly say embarrassing things on TV," Carlson said. “You can hire Omarosa to work in the White House. All of this will be forgiven if you protect your people. But if you don't protect them – or worse, if you seem like you can't care to protect them – then you're done. It is over. People will not forgive weakness. "
Compared to pro-Trump commentators such as Sean Hannity, Mr. Carlson has shown a greater willingness to criticize the president for his approach to issues such as Iran and the coronavirus.
However, his words on Monday were particularly strong, especially given the time. They came as part of a monologue at the beginning of "Tucker Carlson Tonight," about an hour after Trump promised in a Rose Garden address to "dominate the streets" and threatened to deploy military troops to interrupt the demonstrations that followed death. by George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground May 25.
"Good for him," Carlson said of Trump's fiery law and order speech, and added, in a note of skepticism, "We sincerely hope it works."
He also provided Mr. Trump with a Twitter post in which the president assured Americans of his own safety following White House demonstrations. "Their federally funded bodyguards kept them safe," Carlson said of the Trump family. "He did not mention protecting the rest of the nation, some of whom were on fire. He just seemed to realize himself. "
While Mr. Carlson spoke on Fox News, Trump also faced criticism – of a completely different kind – on CNN.
Anchor Anderson Cooper, clearly surprised by Mr. Trump's militaristic words on Monday, called Trump a "wannabe war president" and questioned how his aggressive approach would ease the tensions of an ailing nation.
"The president seems to believe that dominant black people dominate peaceful protesters, is law and order," Cooper told viewers. "He calls them" scoundrels. "Who is the scoundrel here? Hiding in a bunker, hiding behind a suit. Who is the scoundrel? "
One night when a curfew was imposed in a number of American cities, Mr. Trump's duel views – which were simultaneously broadcast on national cable networks – seemed to reflect the partisan divisions that divide the nation.
Mr. Carlson had fiery words about the political dynamics of the demonstration, telling viewers: “Some Democrats have openly embraced it. They don't really have that much choice. These are their constituents, cleans the Rolex store. These riots are actually the biggest Joe Biden for the presidential gathering on record. "
"The president used only a Bible and the sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition and one of the diocese's churches without permission as a backdrop for a message that is antithetical to the doctrine of Jesus and all our churches," Budde said .  Fox News and CNN had common features on Monday: both networks broadcast almost constant live footage of protesters and police clashing in streets in cities across the United States.