Trump Addresses Risk of American Civil War With Tucker Carlson

"I don't know, I don't know," former President Donald Trump tells Tucker Carlson about the prospect of civil war in America. "There's a level of passion I've never seen, and a level of hatred I've never seen. That's probably a bad combination."
Trump Addresses Risk of American Civil War With Tucker Carlson
Former president Donald Trump speaks with Tucker Carlson in a pre-recorded interview aired on debate night on Aug. 23, 2023. (Tucker Carlson/X)
Joseph Lord

Former President Donald Trump addressed the risk of the country breaking into open civil conflict during a specially-timed interview with leading TV host Tucker Carlson, saying he doesn't know whether such an escalation could come about amid rising discontent with American politics.

During an interview that aired at the same time as Fox News' GOP 2024 presidential candidate debate on Aug. 23, President Trump was circumspect when he was asked about the prospect of civil war, a possibility that has come increasingly into the public discourse in recent years.

"There's tremendous passion and there's tremendous love," President Trump said in response to former Fox News host Mr. Carlson's question, "Do you think we're moving towards civil war?"

The former president then addressed the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.

"I believe it was the largest crowd I've ever spoken before," he continued, referencing his "Stop the Steal" rally that took place the same day to protest any certification of electoral votes amid continued disputes over the possibility of election fraud.

President Trump acknowledged that some got violent but said this was a minority of the hundreds of thousands of people present for his speech that day who were there. He had also asked everyone there to act "peacefully and patriotically" in a video that was removed by social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

"People that were in that crowd that day, a very small group of people, went down there, and then there are a lot of scenarios that we could talk about."

For the majority, he said, there was a sense of "love and unity."

"I have never seen such spirit and such passion and such love, and I've also never seen simultaneously and from the same people such hatred for what they've done to our country," President Trump said.

The word "insurrection" has become a mainstay among Trump opponents, leading Democrats, and many media personalities in describing the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when a crowd of protestors breached the U.S. Capitol, causing some minor damages across the sprawling complex. Four people, all of whom were supporters of President Trump, were killed during the events of the day.

In the wake of the Capitol breach, many of President Trump's political opponents claimed the breach was the result of a concerted conspiratorial effort to overthrow the U.S. government, the narrative ultimately pushed by the now-defunct House Jan. 6 Committee.

The protests and breach represented an escalation in political tensions not commonly seen in the United States, where political stability has long been a cultural staple. Some, including 2024 candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, have opined that the Capitol breach could be the opening act in a brewing civil conflict.

Mr. Ramaswamy told Mr. Carlson earlier in July at the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, that he believes that Jan. 6 was a symptom of "pervasive censorship" of free speech in America, and that, "until we reckon with that reality, I worry that [Jan. 6] is the beginning compared to what's to come, unless we step up and speak truth, restore integrity, and actually lead us to who we are as a people, rather than sweeping the truth under the rug."

During his interview with Mr. Carlson, President Trump did not explicitly reject this possibility, citing the level of "passion" and "hatred" that has emerged in recent years.

However, he said he doesn't know whether a conflict would happen when pressed on the issue by Mr. Carlson.

Mr. Carlson asked, "Do you think it's possible that there's open conflict? We seem to be moving toward something."

"I don't know, I don't know," President Trump said. "There's a level of passion I've never seen, and a level of hatred I've never seen. That's probably a bad combination."