scorecardArgentina's new far-right president Javier Milei winning is a triumph for Tucker Carlson
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Argentina's new far-right president Javier Milei winning is a triumph for Tucker Carlson

Tom Porter   

Argentina's new far-right president Javier Milei winning is a triumph for Tucker Carlson
LifeInternational2 min read
  • Tucker Carlson interviewed Javier Milei in September, boosting his candidacy.
  • Milei is a far-right firebrand and showman, compared by some to Donald Trump.

After the election of far-right outsider Javier Milei as Argentina's president Sunday, former Fox News host Tucker Carlson took a victory lap.

Carlson posted a picture of himself posing with Milei, whose candidacy he boosted by interviewing him for his show on X in September.

In the interview, Milei echoed the rhetoric of former US President Donald Trump, questioning the climate crisis, urging right-wingers to wage culture wars with liberals, and pledging to cut government spending to reduce Argentina's spiking inflation.

The interview was part of Carlson's wider plan to promote collaboration among conservatives around the world, A. J. Bauer, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Alabama, told the Reuters Institute.

Milei, a libertarian economist and TV personality, was considered an outsider when he launched his bid to lead South America's second-biggest nation.

His victory was propelled by conspiracy theories, media stunts, and a pledge to crack down on Argentina's spiraling economic woes with radical measures, such as adopting the US dollar as the national currency.

His candidacy was compared early on to that of Trump, another outsider with an outlandish persona who overcame the odds to win in 2016's US presidential election.

Since being fired by Fox News in 2022, Carlson has been building his own media brand on X, interviewing far-right candidates and leaders including Hungary's Viktor Orbán, Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro, and El Salvador's Nayib Bukele.

Though he doesn't command the mainstream conservative audiences he did during his time at Fox, he's still among the most influential far-right media figures in the world, with his interview with Milei viewed 423 million times at the time of publication.

"He probably knows that he's reaching a more niche audience," Bauer told the Reuters Institute. "Even in this role, he can still play a really important role in setting the agenda by saying: 'Hey, you may not have heard of what's going on in Argentina but this guy's got some interesting ideas that maybe we should apply here in the US.'"

Carlson retains close ties with Trump, who's seeking to make a political comeback in 2024 and opted to be interviewed on Carlson's show instead of taking part in the Republican primary debate in August.

As he seeks to fan the flames of the global far right, Carlson will likely be hoping that Milei's is the first of a new wave of victories akin to that which swept Trump to power in 2016.

But critics say that Milei's sweeping solutions are unlikely to survive contact with reality. He may end up suffering the same political fate as his allies and political soulmates Trump and Bolsonaro, and be swept out of office after one term.

"Hang on to your hat," Benjamin Gedan, director of the Latin America Program at the Washington-based Wilson Center, told The Associated Press.

"Milei has toned down his anti-establishment rage lately and downplayed his more outlandish proposals, but it's going to be a wild ride, given his combative style, inexperience, and the few allies he has in Congress."