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Tucker Carlson’s First-Grade Teacher Finally Calls Him Out for His Lies About Her

“That is the most embellished, crazy thing I ever heard.”

Tucker Carlson sits cross-legged, scratching his head during a talk at a convention

In his 2018 book Ship of Fools, Tucker Carlson describes his ultra-right-wing origin story. As he tells it, he was just seven years old and in the first grade when he grew to detest liberals.

In the book, Carlson details his hatred for Mrs. Raymond, whom he describes as “a parody of earth-mother liberalism” who “wore long Indian-print skirts” and “had little interest in conventional academic topics, like reading and penmanship.”

“He recalled her sobbing theatrically at her desk, saying, ‘The world is so unfair! You don’t know that yet. But you’ll find out!'” writes The Washington Post in a new story on Carlson titled “How Tucker Carlson became the voice of White grievance.”

According to the Post, that journey toward white grievance started with Mrs. Raymond:

Carlson said he just wanted liberals to “stop blubbering and teach us to read. . . . Mrs. Raymond never did teach us; my father had to hire a tutor to get me through phonics.” Thus, Carlson says, he began his sojourn as a conservative thinker, questioning the liberals who he said were all around him, exemplified by his first-grade teacher.

Here’s how he later described Mrs. Raymond to CSPAN:

She was sort of willowy, blonde, wore Indian peasant skirts with long-wind chime earrings and she was a kind of political activist/first-grade teacher and spent most of the year trying to make us like her birth mother liberals.

Except according to Marianna Raymond (yes, Carlson didn’t even give his caricatured version of his teacher a pseudonym in his book), none of that is true. She told the Post she never sobbed at her desk, didn’t wear “Indian-print skirts,” and as for that tutor his father hired—that was her. Or at least, she was hired by Carlson’s father to be one of his home tutors.

She apparently wasn’t aware that she made an appearance in Carlson’s book until the newspaper told her.

“Oh my God,” she said when she heard what he had to say about her. “That is the most embellished, crazy thing I ever heard.”

One of Carlson’s biggest, longest-running talking points is that America talks too much about race and that racism wouldn’t be an issue if we didn’t harp on it so much. That’s why he seems to think that Black people are responsible for racism in America—because they’re leading the conversations about it. He loves to speak out against the idea that white people are responsible for or even benefit from racism in America.

“The idea that I’d be responsible for the sins (or, for that matter, share in the glory of the accomplishments) of dead people who happened to share my skin tone has always confused me,” Carlson wrote in a 2009 Esquire article. “Racial solidarity wasn’t a working concept in my southern-California hometown.”

Of course it wasn’t! Carlson grew up in one of the whitest, most affluent areas of California—maybe the entire country. Asking Carlson what he thought of white privilege is like the old joke of asking a fish what he thinks about water. Growing up in an environment like that, he would have had no concept of racial injustice because he never had to see it.

Sure, when he was seven years old, if he had heard someone mention these issues, they might have seemed odd to him. Maybe that’s where his heavily embellished image of Mrs. Raymond came from.

Or maybe he just made up a story about a nice, normal woman because he needed some way to justify the fact that as a grown man, he still carries a Richie Rich seven-year-old’s view of the world.

(via Washington Post, image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.