Tucker Carlson is known for being a Trump cheerleader, like many pundits on Fox News. But after Donald Trump boldly stared directly at today’s solar eclipse for seemingly no reason, Carlson demonstrated that today’s punditry is so ridiculous that jokes are now impossible to judge.
On his show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the Fox News host did a quick segment about the total solar eclipse over the United States, the first in 38 years. He noted that people all over the country had stopped what they were doing to view the rare celestial event, in which the moon moved between the Earth and the sun, temporarily obscuring the star. Among those who stopped to look was Trump, who turned his unshielded eyes toward the heavens and got his eyeballs blasted by solar rays.
Carlson seemingly looked to make a joke, maybe at his own expense, about what a tough guy Trump was for taking potentially blinding solar radiation directly in the retinas.
“Even the president saw it, but in a move that is not a complete surprise, he looked directly at the sun without any glasses — perhaps the most impressive thing any president has ever done,” Tucker said.
You can judge it for yourself in the clip above, tweeted out by The Daily Beast editor Andrew Kirell.
Trump was mocked on social media Monday for taking on the sun with nothing but his eyeballs. Scientists and doctors have been warning for more than a month that staring at the eclipse can injure eyes and even permanently damage vision. Many joked that Trump, who is somewhat infamous for doing the opposite of whatever anyone tells him despite whether it’s good advice, would be exactly the person to ignore warnings about protective eyewear and gaze up at the star, damning all consequences, like possible blindness.
Reportedly, an aide yelled at Trump not to look at the sun, just as he decided to look at the sun. A few moments later, Trump, his son Bannon and First Lady Melania all donned the special glasses that would allow them to watch the eclipse safely. Yup, Trump had the glasses the whole time.
Pundits like Carlson like to praise Trump for basically everything. But what was funny about this compliment — which, again, must be a joke Carlson was trying to indicate with over-the-top hyperbole, right? — was that it was kind of hard to tell if he was actually joking. The currently political climate finds many right-wing spokespeople are endlessly defending Trump. Carlson himself last week defended Trump’s comparison of Confederate General Robert E. Lee to George Washington, by mentioning that lots of really great people have been slave owners, like Plato and the Aztecs.
Can we ever really be sure that his supporters really aren’t impressed that Trump would risk permanent ocular damage just because someone told him not to?
Update: In an interview with TheWrap, Carlson said his comment about Trump’s eyeball strength and sun-taunting were definitely a joke.
“It was a test to see if liberals are really as slow and humorless as people claim,” Carlson said. “Turns out they are.”
To be fair, though, the jokes about Trump damaging his eyes just to spite people who said not to were pretty funny.