Fox News personality Tucker Carlson chastised and mocked Gov. Spencer Cox this week after a video of a virtual town hall resurfaced where the Republican governor tells high school students he uses “he, him, his” pronouns.
“Bright, red Utah is now led by a cut-rate Gavin Newsom imitator called Spencer Cox,” the conservative television show host said during an 11-minute segment on his show “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that aired Wednesday. Newsom, a Democrat, is the governor of California.
Carlson also accused Cox of “always auditioning for the title of ‘America’s Guiltiest White Guy.’”
During the segment, Carlson featured an April 2021 KSL NewsRadio interview where the Utah governor defended a Utah Jazz scholarship program geared towards children of color. Conservatives have doubled down on their criticism of Cox in recent days, rebuking the governor’s use of pronouns and support for transgender youth.
Earlier this week, several conservative groups, including the American Principles Project, spread an edited, 53-second video on social media that showed Cox listing his pronouns during a 2021 Zoom call with high schoolers. The 30-minute Zoom call was part of a One Utah Student Town Hall event where Cox answered questions from Utah high school students.
During the town hall, one student from Tuacahn High School for the Arts in Irvins listed her pronouns when called upon to ask a governor a question. She then asked what his plans were to boost mental health services in schools, citing a survey that found gay and lesbian youth faced a higher risk for depression and suicidal ideation.
“Well, thank you so much ... for that question and my preferred pronouns are he, him, his so thank you for sharing yours with me,” he told the student before answering her question.
A spokeswoman for the governor declined a request for comment on Carlson’s attack.
The criticism from far-right conservatives comes weeks after Cox became the second Republican governor in the U.S. to veto a bill that would bar transgender girls from playing on school sports teams matching their gender identity. In a four-page letter explaining his veto, Cox cited that he worried about the message it would send to the state’s transgender students, who already face a higher risk for suicide compared to their cisgender peers.
Despite the governor’s objection to the legislation, Utah Republican lawmakers quickly struck down his veto after whipping the sufficient votes to override.
Carlson also alleged that Cox was controlled by liberal interest groups in the state.
Equality Utah’s executive director Troy Williams called it “an honor to be maligned” by the Fox News host and defended Cox’s compassion for Utah’s LGBTQ youth.
“Gov. Cox has shown compassion and empathy for a minority population of children. And what does it say when voices within the GOP see love and kindness as a weakness?” Williams told The Salt Lake Tribune. “It’s bewildering. It’s like Fox News opinion hosts have no tolerance for moderate or compassionate conservatism.”
Carlson also cast his ire at Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, who voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic nomination as the first Black woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
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