Maggie Haberman writes in Confidence Man that the Fox News host went to great lengths to get former President Trump to let his former campaign adviser off the hook
For years, Fox News star Tucker Carlson has served as a vital voice in Donald Trump’s ear, including privately urging him not to bomb Iran, giving him ideas for crackdowns on immigrants and the homeless, and even gossiping with the former president about another man’s “fucking gross” sexual ongoings. During Trump’s fourth year in office, Carlson also held a secret meeting at the White House with Jared Kushner as part of a pressure campaign aimed at forcing Trump to pardon Roger Stone, according to the upcoming book Confidence Man.
“Carlson came to [Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser] Kushner to demand clemency for Stone … to prevent him from going to prison,” New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman writes in book passages reviewed by Rolling Stone. “If Trump failed to deliver, Carlson made clear, he would press the issue publicly. Kushner was noncommittal, and a few days later Carlson launched what became a monthslong campaign on his friend’s behalf.”
Kushner and Carlson did not respond to Rolling Stone’s requests for comment on Thursday.
The White House meeting occurred around February 2020, not long before the country essentially shut down at the dawn of the Covid-19 crisis. Stone, a longtime associate of Trump’s and self-declared “dirty trickster,” was famously ensnared in the Trump-Russia investigation. He was found guilty of witness tampering and lying to Congress in November 2019, with charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
During that period of his presidency, Trump paid very close attention to Carlson’s on-air coverage of Stone’s situation, and in conversations with White House aides Trump would cite those TV segments as further evidence that he should let his pal Stone off the hook, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter tell Rolling Stone. Trump did indeed pardon Stone in December 2020.
Trump and Carlson’s relationship wasn’t always what it is today. In an article Carlson wrote for Politico published in Jan. 2016, he recounts: “About 15 years ago, I said something nasty on CNN about Donald Trump’s hair. I can’t now remember the context, assuming there was one. In any case, Trump saw it and left a message the next day. ‘It’s true you have better hair than I do,’ Trump said matter-of-factly. ‘But I get more pussy than you do.’ Click.”