Gov. Greg Abbott may breathe a sigh of relief after Tucker Carlson abruptly left Fox News. Abbott had long endured criticism from the network’s top prime-time host over illegal immigration and other issues.
Situation: This week, Fox officials revealed that the network and Carlson had “agreed to part ways” after working together for more than a decade.
Fox News’ employment of Carlson left a lasting impression on both Texas politics and the Republican Party.
Why it matters: Former President Donald Trump wasn’t the only person who Carlson could talk to. He appeared to have some influence over Abbott’s political decisions.
Flashback: Most recently, Carlson appeared to influence Abbott’s push for a pardon of Daniel Perry, the Army sergeant convicted of killing an Austin social justice protester.
The same day a Travis County jury found Perry guilty of murder, Carlson needled Abbott for declining an invitation to speak about whether he was considering a pardon, saying: “So that is Greg Abbott’s position, there is no right of self-defense in Texas.”
The next day, Abbott tweeted that he would ask the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to review Perry’s case and that he would approve the board’s pardon recommendation “as soon as it hits my desk.”
What they’re saying: “If Tucker Carlson is the actual leader of conservative voters, then when Greg Abbott does what Tucker Carlson wants it’s of course not going to hurt Greg Abbott. It’s probably going to help him,” Yunkang Yang, a Texas A&M University communications professor, told the Austin American-Statesman after the governor announced his push to pardon Perry.
Of note: And even if he didn’t directly pressure the governor, Carlson at least was a thorn in Abbott’s side.