Tucker Carlson defended Vladimir Putin again, suggesting Italy poses a bigger threat than Russia because of its slightly larger economy

Tucker Carlson defended Vladimir Putin again, suggesting Italy poses a bigger threat than Russia because of its slightly larger economy
Fox News host Tucker Carlson.Fox News
  • Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Wednesday night once again defended Vladimir Putin.
  • He suggested Italy is a bigger threat to world domination because its economy is slightly larger.

After briefly changing his tune on Russian President Vladimir Putin shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, Fox News host Tucker Carlson was back to defending him on Wednesday night.

Comparing Russia's gross domestic product (GDP) to that of Italy, Carlson took a leap and suggested the country with an active military force of 340,000 poses a bigger global threat than Russia's roughly 1 million troops on active duty.

"Russia's economy is smaller than Italy's," Carlson said, showing a chart from Visual Capitalist of global GDP broken down by country, similar to a pie chart. "The Italians, in other words, are in a better position to take over the world than Vladimir Putin."

The World Bank puts Russia's 2021 GDP at $1.78 trillion and Italy's at $2.1 trillion.

Aside from Russia also having around 2 million reserve troops — some of whom have already been deployed to Ukraine, according to British intelligence — Carlson omitted the fact that, despite having a bigger economy, Italy's defense budget is three times smaller than Russia's and their annual military spending is half of Russia's, according to a comparison from the Global Firepower Index.


The same index puts Russia's military strength in second place behind the US, with Italy ranked 11th out of 142 nations.

Italy is also not engaged in an active war, while Russian troops have been accused of committing war crimes by the United Nations. They have targeted Ukrainian civilians in mass-casualty missile strikes, from a shopping mall in Kremenchuk to a crowded theater in Mariupol, where an estimated 600 people were killed.

Fox News did not immediately respond Insider's request for comment.

Russian state media has used clips from Carlson's show on several occasions to justify the invasion of Ukraine, which, by law, must be referred to as a "special military operation." A leaked memo published by Mother Jones showed Kremlin talking points telling state media outlets to use the primetime host's material "as much as possible."

"It is essential to use as much as possible fragments of broadcasts of the popular Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who sharply criticizes the actions of the United States [and] NATO, their negative role in unleashing the conflict in Ukraine, [and] the defiantly provocative behavior from the leadership of the Western countries and NATO towards the Russian Federation and towards President Putin, personally," the March 2021 memo advised.


Carlson argued that by virtue of both Republicans and Democrats remaining in favor of providing Ukraine with billions in defense assistance, his viewers should be inherently skeptical and question whether any of it will "improve your life."

"This entire conversation is insane," Carlson said of the bipartisan consensus. "Anyone who takes it seriously is a fool, and anyone who doesn't see the red flags is probably dishonest."