Tucker Carlson mocked for wondering ‘why is tobacco so dangerous?’

On his Friday night show, Fox News personality Tucker Carlson was elated when Rep Troy Nehls of Texas appeared to light up a cigar live on his show.

Mr Carlson was defending the right of members of the House of Representatives to smoke inside their congressional offices, something they are now allowed to do since Republicans regained a thin majority in the lower chamber of Congress and lifted a ban.

Contrasting smoking tobacco with the use of marijuana and crack, Mr Carlson wondered why tobacco is considered so dangerous when, in his view, the government does not feel the same way about other controlled substances.

Mr Nehls was invited on to the show to discuss how being allowed to smoke in an office — perhaps one of the only offices in the US where this is permissible — was all about “freedom”.

There was little consideration given to the very well-documented, multiple health issues caused by smoking.

Mr Carlson began his interview with the congressman by wondering aloud: “So you have to kind of wonder, why is tobacco so dangerous.”

He then congratulated Mr Nehls for standing up for “the most American of all pleasures” — tobacco.

He added: “I’m sorry to say it, it founded the country.”

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Given the rose-tinted view of tobacco in the segment, the Fox News host was roundly mocked on Twitter, with humourist George Hahn dubbing him: “The f***ing dumbest.”

Vanity Fair correspondent and podcaster Molly Jong-Fast characterised Carlson’s stance as “Getting cancer to own the libs.”

Writer Bob Cesca framed it as an example of how: “Trumpism is a suicide cult.”

Even though Mr Carlson’s show often revolves around crossing lines that most thought uncrossable, many were still incredulous.

“So denying lung cancer exists is apparently not off limits for Tucker now?” wrote Matt Royer, chief of staff for Young Democrats of America.

Mr Nehls produced the cigar from his pocket — where three were visible — toward the end of the interview and while he appeared to light it, no smoke was readily visible.

Mr Carlson said the congressman was “striking a blow for freedom”, adding that cigar smoke was “the smell of freedom”.

He concluded: “We appreciate you coming on tonight and standing up for Americanness.”