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How Tucker Carlson’s “Frat House” Foreshadowed Trump

Tucker Carlson in Hungary
Photo by Janos Kummer/Getty Images
Julia Ioffe
August 19, 2021

I first met my new colleague Tina Nguyen this summer. I had read her phenomenal dispatches from the grassroots trenches of Trumpworld for Politico and Vanity Fair, but I’d never spoken to her in person. Nor had I heard her personal story, about how she had begun her career in journalism under the unlikely tutelage of Tucker Carlson, before finding a better mentor in our mutual friend David Frum. We met for coffee one hot D.C. morning and, three hours later, I was still listening, slack-jawed, to Tina’s stories about her travels among the conservative activists that traditional media still struggles to understand. It made sense that Tina, who describes herself as ideologically burned out, was so fluent in the language and culture of this universe: unlike most of the Washington reporters writing about the American right, she had lived it.