January 29, 2023

BLOWING SMOKE: Fox News’ Tucker Carlson celebrates a cancer-causing substance

BLOWING SMOKE: Fox News' Tucker Carlson celebrates a cancer-causing substance

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Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson could barely contain his excitement as Congressman Troy Nehls (R-TX) lit up a cigar when guesting on the host’s show Tucker Carlson Tonight. 

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Nehls was on hand to discuss the GOP’s repeal of legislation banning smoking inside on Capitol Hill.

Watch the video below. 

“Grateful that you’re here willing to stand up for the most American of all pleasures – which is tobacco. Sorry to say it, it’s true. It founded the country,” Carlson proclaimed.

“That is the smell of freedom,” the Fox News host told Congressman Nehls. “We appreciate your coming on tonight and standing up for Americanness.”

“It’s all about freedom,” Rep. Nehls replied.

The host and the congressman from Texas conveniently leave out the freedoms of those who don’t smoke — and the effect of secondhand smoke on those battling respiratory illnesses like asthma.

But Carlson did as Carlson does and dropped a false equivalency between drug addiction and smoking indoors which has been linked to smoke-related cancer for those who experience it both directly and indirectly.

“If you were smoking weed – or meth – nobody would say anything,” Carlson said. “What is it about tobacco?”

What the two gentlemen fail to acknowledge is the ban on smoking didn’t originate with the mandate enacted during then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) 2007-2009 tenure.

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On January 10, 1896 – just over 127 years ago – legislators introduced an amendment to ban smoking throughout the House Chamber, adding onto an 1871 bill that banned smoking on the floor of the House of Representatives and the gallery when in session.

Republican James Blaine (R-ME) was the speaker at the time of the 1871 rule.

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It would be twenty-five years before Democrat Thomas Castings (D-MS) and future Republican Speaker of the House David Henderson (R-IA) would put forth a total ban out of concern for the health of their colleagues and the Capitol staff in 1896.

“I believe that since I have had a seat in this body members have been killed not alone because of the polluting effects of tobacco, but generally because of the impure air in this Hall. I think this provision will be a great step toward the preservation of the health of members of this body,” Henderson said in a speech that persuaded his congressional colleagues to pass the bill, according to the House of Representatives History, Art & Archives website. 

However, that ban didn’t prevent lawmakers from sparking up in their offices.

Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was notorious for his pack-a-day smoking habit.

Bloomberg reported that after the Republican lawmaker resigned from his position, the Speaker’s Office had to be completely refurbished  – with new paint, carpets, and air purification – prior to the newly-elected Speaker Paul Ryan (R-IN) taking up residence.

When Speaker Pelosi oversaw the 2007 ban, the legendary congresswoman and whip master, received little pushback – even from smokers in the chamber.

“I’m O.K. with it,” Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) said over a decade and a half ago.

Rep. Dan Waxman (D-CA) applauded the move, saying he’d received numerous complaints from House members having to endure the wafting smoke.

“Why should people have to quit their jobs to protect their health?” he asked. “It was long overdue. It took Nancy Pelosi to put this in place.”

But alas, the Republican Party doesn’t care about history, health, or being good colleagues.

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And Fox News

If there’s a culture war to be had – they’re all in — even if it means endangering the health of fellow legislatures.

It’s been over a century since the ban that Speaker Pelosi expanded upon was enacted — bi-partisan legislation that sought to protect the most vulnerable in the halls of Congress. But today’s GOP apparently doesn’t care about that – or about their fellow Americans.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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