Give Tucker Carlson a prompt about racism, and he’ll run with it.
Such was the case yet again this week when the Fox News host joined YouTuber Dave Rubin to talk about President Donald Trump, racism and the Republican Party. Given Carlson’s habit of letting racism peek through his monologues, it might not surprise you to learn that the discussion got very racist.
At one point in the hourlong conversation, Carlson claimed that white Middle Americans ― whom he referred to as fat and kind of racist ― were the most downtrodden group of people in this country.
“I have greater sympathy for the lone guy who’s getting pushed around than for the group that’s pushing him around,” he said. “I feel like the least popular group in America lives in the Middle West and have kind of antiquated social attitudes, and they have very little economic power and they’re overweight and everyone hates them, and I feel like, ‘Really?’ Cause they’re Americans, actually. What is this?”
While it wasn’t initially clear that he was talking about white people specifically, Carlson reiterated he was not talking about other races.
“By the way, if they were doing this to black people or Hispanics or any group, I would be sympathetic, because I hate that,” he said.
White nationalists’ core concern is that the so-called “white race” is under attack and that white identity can and should be preserved geographically. One of Carlson’s core concerns is that those in Middle America who are not Hispanic or black are under attack and that being a nationalist should be a “prerequisite for running a democracy.” The lines are not difficult to draw. Carlson’s talking points about white anxiety and discrimination often echo white nationalist talking points.
He has espoused such ideology before ― he’s blatantly warned his viewers about liberals pushing for white “genocide,” for example ― but his appearance on Rubin’s show gave a more candid air to his bigotry.
Asked if he thought Trump was racist, Carlson told Rubin: “I think on some level everybody is bigoted. The human heart is dark. And light. It’s a patchwork.”
He argued that Trump may be racist but that institutional racism is perpetuated by the president’s naysayers, not the man who said there were “very fine people on both sides” during the deadly white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Racism is attacking people on the basis of their immutable characteristics, which is how our government operates. It’s totally wrong,” he said. “So is Trump an offender? I dunno, probably. Who isn’t? But the actual structural racism that hurts people and rewards others on the basis of their skin color … that’s not being perpetuated by Trump, it’s being perpetuated and defended and celebrated by his critics.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.