Tucker Carlson voiced grave concerns about the growing coronavirus outbreak Monday night as fellow Fox News personalities dismissed dismay over the disease as politically charged.
The host of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” devoted the opening monologue of his prime-time opinion program to discussing the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, and its potential to claim the lives of many more Americans as the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. continues to swell.
“People you know will get sick. Some may die. This is real,” said Mr. Carlson.
Without mentioning any names, Mr. Carlson also seemed to criticize President Trump for downplaying the magnitude of the outbreak by comparing the coronavirus with the common flu.
“People you trust, people you probably voted for, have spent weeks minimizing what is clearly a very serious problem,” Mr. Carlson said during the monologue. “It will affect your life. And by the way, it’s definitely not just the flu.”
Fox Business Network host Trish Regan delivered her own diatribe dismissing growing concerns over the coronavirus as part of an effort to remove Mr. Trump from office, meanwhile.
“This is yet another attempt to impeach the president,” Ms. Regan said. “Many in the liberal media using, and I mean using, coronavirus in an attempt to demonize and destroy the president.”
Fox News host Sean Hannity made a similar argument during his own cable program the following hour, accusing unnamed fellow members of the media of “scaring people unnecessarily.”
“They’re scaring the living hell out of people, and I see it again as like, ‘Oh, let’s bludgeon Trump with this new hoax,'” he said on “Hannity.”
More than 109,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed globally, according to the World Health Organization, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention placing the number of confirmed domestic cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon at 647 and counting.
Discussing the disease Monday on Twitter, Mr. Trump compared the coronavirus to the common flu and accused the “fake news media” and the Democratic Party of inflaming the situation “far beyond what the facts would warrant.” Hours later, he retweeted a video clip of Ms. Regan’s monologue accusing the media of using the coronavirus to “destroy the president.”
In the interim, Mr. Carlson argued that being honest about the outbreak is better than overly optimistic.
“You shouldn’t panic,” he said. “In crisis, it’s more important than ever to be calm. But staying calm is not the same as remaining complacent. It does not mean assuring people that everything will be fine. We don’t know that. Instead, it’s better to tell the truth. That is always the surest sign of strength.”
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