US Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger on Tuesday ripped into Fox News host Tucker Carlson over his commentary about footage from the January 6, 2021, insurrection that he aired Monday night, saying the host “cherry-picked” from the footage to present “offensive” and “misleading” conclusions about the attack.
“Last night an opinion program aired commentary that was filled with offensive and misleading conclusions about the January 6 attack,” Manger wrote in an internal department memo obtained by CNN, adding that Carlson’s show didn’t reach out to the police department “to provide accurate context.”
“The program conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video. The commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments,” Manger said.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy granted Carlson access to more than 40,000 hours of the Capitol security footage from January 6. Carlson, who used the footage in an attempt to downplay the violence and defend the pro-Trump mob, claimed he checked with Capitol Police before airing the footage.
The Capitol Police has continuously warned that release of all security footage from the Capitol could pose a potential security risk for the building. CNN has reached out to Capitol Police for comment.
CNN and other news organizations have also requested access to the security footage. McCarthy’s office said it is still working out the process to make the footage “more widely available” but did not comment further. The speaker said Tuesday the footage would be released to all media organizations, but did not say when.
In the memo, Manger specifically called out Carlson’s decision to air never-before-seen surveillance footage that he said showed USCP officer Brian Sicknick, who died one day after the January 6 insurrection. Carlson said he focused on this because Democrats have turned Sicknick into a “prop” and a “martyr” by overstating the links between his death and the insurrection.
Carlson used the new video to try to undermine the known facts surrounding Sicknick’s death, and to argue that January 6 was less violent and “deadly” than it has been portrayed.
“Finally, the most disturbing accusation from last night was that our late friend and colleague Brian Sicknick’s death had nothing to do with his heroic actions on January 6,” Manger wrote. “The Department maintains, as anyone with common sense would, that had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day.”
The chief also heaped praise on his force for their work defending the Capitol the day of the attack, writing: “You fought like hell on January 6 and risked your lives to protect the Constitution and everything this country stands for. You, along with our law enforcement partners, saved every member of Congress and their staff.”
Several congressional Republicans, most notably Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have expressed concern with Carlson’s portrayal of the attack.
“With regard to the presentation on Fox News last night, I want to associate myself entirely with the opinion of the Chief of the Capitol Police about what happened on January 6,” McConnell told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday.
According to the Justice Department, 140 officers were assaulted at the Capitol that day, including 60 Metropolitan Police officers and 80 USCP officers.
McCarthy told reporters Tuesday that he had no regrets about releasing the security footage to Carlson and, when pushed on whether he agrees with Carlson’s characterization of the attack on the Capitol, said, “Each person comes up with their own conclusion.”
But the California Republican once spoke about the violence at the Capitol in starkly different terms than the narrative Carlson is presenting, CNN’s KFile has reported.
This story had been updated with additional details.