Bill Kristol: Tucker Carlson’s show is ‘close now to racism’

Conservative commentator Bill Kristol rips Fox News's Tucker Carlson in a new interview, saying his show could be "close now to racism" or "ethnonationalism." 

"I mean, it is close now to racism, white — I mean, I don't know if it's racism exactly — but ethnonationalism of some kind, let's call it. A combination of dumbing down, as you said earlier, and stirring people's emotions in a very unhealthy way," Kristol told CNBC's John Harwood in the interview published on Thursday. 

Kristol, who is the founder and editor-at-large of The Weekly Standard, noted a shift in Carlson's style when he was a young reporter at the publication.

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"Tucker Carlson was a great young reporter. He was one of the most gifted 24-year-olds I've seen in the 20 years that I edited the magazine. His copy was sort of perfect at age 24," Kristol said. "He had always a little touch of Pat Buchananism, I would say, paleo-conservativism."

Carlson responded, saying Kristol was welcome to come on his show and explain his comments. 

“I’m not even sure what he’s accusing me of. He offers no evidence or examples, just slurs, and then suggests that I’m the demagogue. Pretty funny. Kristol’s always welcome on my show to explain himself, though I assume he’s too afraid to come. What a shame. It would be revealing," he said in a statement. 

Carlson is known for his combative and provocative style.

Carlson recently questioned the widespread outrage over Trump's reported comments referring to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as "shithole countries."

"So, if you say Norway is a better place to live and Haiti is kind of a hole, well anyone who’s been to those countries or has lived in them would agree. But we’re jumping up and down, ‘Oh, you can’t say that.’ Why can’t you say that?" Carlson asked.

Trump's comments drew bipartisan criticism and were dubbed by a number of critics as "racist."

Updated at 10:51 a.m.