Tucker Carlson has mounted an attack on Harry Dunn, a U.S. Capitol police officer who is speaking publicly about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, resulting in Republicans facing pressure to condemn the Fox News host’s comments Thursday.
Days before Mr. Dunn is set to testify before members of Congress about the riot that he witnessed, Mr. Carlson singled out the officer during the airing of his cable show Wednesday night.
“Dunn will pretend to speak for the country’s law enforcement community. But it turns out Dunn has very little in common with your average cop,” Mr. Carlson stated during his prime-time opinion program.
Mr. Carlson subsequently called the police officer an “angry left-wing political activist” and claimed that his social media feeds are “full of praise” for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.
In one of just two social media posts cited by Mr. Carlson, Mr. Dunn had shared a photograph on Twitter last month that showed him meeting with Mrs. Pelosi at the Capitol.
“Thank you @SpeakerPelosi for hosting us Officers from January 6th and being persistent about seeking justice and accountability,” Mr. Dunn tweeted, tagging the Democrat’s account. “You are [appreciated].”
In the other post, Mr. Dunn, a Black man, tweeted a widely circulated, unattributed quote about racism: “Racism is so American, that when you protest it, people think that you are protesting America!”
That same 2019 tweet also referred to then-President Trump as racist and voiced support for Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Democrat, a Somalia native he told days earlier to “go back” to where she came from.
Mark S. Zaid, a lawyer representing Mr. Dunn and another Capitol Police officer, issued a statement later Wednesday evening slamming the host of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” for attacking his client on the air.
“Our client has served 13 years in law enforcement and on January 6, 2021, fought against an insurrectionist violent crowd - no doubt many of them Carlson’s supporters - to protect the lives of our elected officials, including Vice President [Mike] Pence,” Mr. Zaid said in the statement.
“Officer Dunn, who would lay down his life to protect a member of Congress, regardless of being a Republican or Democrat, will testify next Tuesday before the House Select Committee investigating the events of the insurrection,” Mr. Zaid added. “Frankly, the last thing Tucker Carlson wants is for the truth to emerge of what happened that day and why.”
Mrs. Pelosi‘s office subsequently called out Mr. Carlson for having “slandered” the police officer and urged Senate Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, to condemn his comments.
“If McCarthy has any respect for the police officers who risked their lives to defend lawmakers on January 6th, he’ll condemn these attacks on Officer Dunn and call on Republicans to stop slandering the heroes who protected the Capitol from a violent insurrection,” Mrs. Pelosi‘s office said in a statement Thursday.
A spokesperson for Mr. McCarthy did not respond to a message requesting comment.
Mr. Dunn and several other officers are scheduled to testify in their personal capacity Tuesday in the first public hearing conducted by the select committee, which was recently created to probe the events of Jan. 6.
Rioters upset about Mr. Trump losing the 2020 presidential election breached the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify the results of the race and effectively recognize the Republican’s defeat.
More than 140 officers were injured in the riot, the head of the Capitol Police union said previously. One was hospitalized the next day and then died, and at least two committed suicide afterward.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, another California Democrat critical of Mr. Carlson, said on Twitter that he is forever grateful for officers such as Mr. Dunn and suggested the TV host should be, too.
Mr. Carlson’s son is a House staffer, the congressman noted. Rep. Jim Banks, Indiana Republican, hired Buckley Carlson in 2019.
The Department of Justice has charged more than 500 people with crimes related to the Jan. 6 riot, ranging from trespass to felonious assault on police officers. Many suspects remain at large.
Mr. Carlson has previously boosted conspiracy theories about the Capitol riot, including claims about FBI operatives being involved in breaching the building and disrupting the electoral process.
He is hardly the only conservative media personality to mount an attack on the Capitol police officer.
“He’s an activist who needs people to believe White people are inherently racist,” Joe Pagilarulo, the host of the “Joe Pags Show,” said Thursday on Twitter about Mr. Dunn. “Of course, that’s nuts. Don’t fall for Pelosi‘s lies.”