A GOP senator on Sunday criticized House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s decision to share about 41,000 hours of Capitol security footage from the Jan. 6, 2021, riot only with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who selectively edited it to deny the violent insurrection.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) agreed with McCarthy’s decision to release the footage, but said the speaker should have distributed it widely.
“What I do regret, probably as much as anything about the release of the 41,000 hours, is that it was released to one person in prime time, who is, you know, rather sensational in his approach, and rather than just releasing it to everybody,” Cramer told NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “I think transparency absolutely is the best way to go.”
McCarthy has defended feeding the material to Carlson, who broadcast a whitewashed version of the riot last week, claiming most members of the mob were “sightseers.”
“Have you ever had an exclusive? Because I see it on your networks all the time. So we have exclusive, then I’ll give it out to the entire country,” McCarthy told reporters last month.
Cramer recognized the pro-Donald Trump riot “clearly wasn’t a peaceful protest,” but said he never feared the violence would topple democracy.
“I’ve never felt like democracy is actually in trouble,” Cramer told NBC’s Chuck Todd. “We survived a civil war, we’re going to survive this as well.”
But he said that relitigating Jan. 6 is not a winning argument for Republicans, who he said should focus on other issues, like inflation.
Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), have been calling out Carlson for promoting the lie that the insurrection didn’t happen.
“Fox News must order Tucker Carlson to stop promoting the Big Lie and stop defending the insurrectionists,” Schumer wrote on Twitter.
Carlson also dismissed the House select committee’s probe into the events of Jan. 6.