The internet’s collective head is aflame after Tucker Carlson was spotted near the headquarters of Russian President Vladimir Putin after the conservative mega-star for weeks has teased the possibility of an interview.
A brief exchange captured by state-run outlet Izvestia showed Carlson exchanging words with a Russian fan asking him why he was visiting.
“I just wanted to talk with people and look around,” Carlson said innocuously. “See how [Russia] is doing, and it’s doing very well.”
Asked if he has plans to interview Putin, Carlson smirked and shrugged, offering only, “We’ll see.”
Another video purports to show Carlson and his entourage boarding a black van as they head toward the Kremlin, ostensibly for an interview with the Russian leader.
Other Russian outlets caught Carlson while he sojourned around town, including at a box in the Bolshoi Theatre and while dining at a Moscow hotel.
“I have read so much about it but I have never seen it before,” Carlson also told Izvestia.
A spokesman for the Kremlin said Putin sees many journalists on a regular basis and it is incapable of sharing the comings and goings of individual reporters.
“Many foreign journalists come to Russia every day, many continue to work here, and we welcome this,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters. “We have nothing to announce in terms of the president’s interviews to foreign media.”
In December, Carlson launched a new subscription-based service catering toward the millions of viewers who followed him after departing Fox News early last year. After building his own backyard studio, Carlson launched “Tucker on Twitter” and later “Tucker on X,” releasing hour-long interviews with figures from Ice Cube to former President Donald Trump that broke records for social media viewership. His interview with Trump, timed to air with the first GOP debate of the presidential election, actually outpaced viewership on Fox News.
Putin is no doubt well aware that conservatives and Republican lawmakers have fumed as President Joe Biden continues pleading for a never-ending supply of funds to replenish the war efforts of Ukraine. Securing an interview with America’s most influential conservative media figure would arguably be Putin’s best attempt to influence U.S. policy away from Ukraine as he seeks to parlay the terms of a settlement to the conflict.
On Monday, Senate lawmakers announced the terms of an immigration deal that would provide enhanced southern border security in exchange for another $60 billion in funding for Ukraine as well as $14.1 billion in assistance for Israel.