Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson went on a rant against Gov. Spencer Cox on his program Wednesday night, calling the Utah Republican a “cut-rate Gavin Newsom imitator” as well as several other names.

In addition to Cox, Carlson also tore into Utah Sen. Mitt Romney as another of many red-state Republicans who betray their voters, “give them the finger” day after day.

Conservative, low-crime, church-going Utah is not a place that comes to mind among states that have fallen into the deep end of “vacuous lifestyle liberalism,” Carlson said. But across the country, he said, some of the most liberal Republicans represent some of the reddest states, Utah among them.

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has to earn every vote in his politically divided state and he does that by representing his constituents, Carlson said.

“Meanwhile, bright red Utah is now led by a cut-rate Gavin Newsom imitator called Spencer Cox. Spencer Cox is a former telecom executive who always seems like he’s auditioning for the title of ‘America’s guiltiest white guy.’ He’s beyond belief,” the Fox News commentator said.

Newsom, a Democrat who survived a recall election last year, promotes a progressive agenda in California.

“So, Utah is definitely not California and yet some of its most prominent politicians would very much like to change that,” Carlson said. “If you don’t believe it, watch them talk some time.”

Carlson cited Cox’s exchange with a female high school student who asked him during a virtual town hall last year what pronouns he prefers. The governor replied he, him and his.

“What a creepy guy,” Carlson said. “Spencer Cox identifies as a male, at least to some limited extent. Now, Cox could have cleared up that mystery a lot more quickly, simply by declaring, ‘I’m a man.’ ... Just in case you had any doubt that neoliberal interest groups control Spencer Cox’s brain. Now, you know, for certain, because it’s never about gender. It’s always about obedience.”

Cox, Carlson said, is obedient, if nothing else, but not obedient to his voters.

The governor has proved popular among Utahns with an approval rating ranging from 55% to 66% over the past year. The most recent Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll released this past December showed 60% of Utahns approve of the job Cox is doing as governor, while 24% disapprove and 16% don’t know.

The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment Thursday about Carlson’s remarks. But Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson retweeted Salt Lake City resident Owen Fuller’s post saying Utah has thoughtful and strong leadership along with a cartoon depicting Carlson as a Vladimir Putin puppet.

Carlson, whose show is one of the highest-rated on television, has suggested that American liberals represent a bigger threat than Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to The New York Times.

“It might be worth asking yourself, since it is getting pretty serious, what is this really about?” Carlson said in February. “Why do I hate Putin so much? Has Putin ever called me a racist?”

Carlson criticized Cox for signing the Utah Compact on Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, supporting a Utah Jazz scholarship program for minority students and vetoing a bill that bans transgender girls from playing women’s high school sports.

“So, here’s this moist, little guy sitting alone in his gilded room with a mask on, telling us it’s not racist to exclude people from a scholarship based on their race. Does anyone else in Utah believe this?” Carlson said.

Why this governor says to turn off cable news as critical race theory debate heats up

On the transgender issues, Carlson said most Utahns believe in biology — also gravity and photosynthesis.

“The state of Utah is pro-science and we know this because the Utah State Legislature just passed a bill banning men from competing in women’s sports because men, it turns out, are not women, but Spencer Cox disagrees. He vetoed that bill,” he said. “Fortunately, two-thirds of the Legislature overrode Spencer Cox’s veto and finally got the bill passed.”

Cox, who has been an outspoken LGBTQ ally, said the legislation contained fundamental flaws.

“I am not an expert on transgenderism. I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting. When in doubt however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion,” he said last month.

Why some conservative media stars are cussing like sailors and Democrats
Utah Legislature overrides governor’s veto of transgender sports ban

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, jabbed back at Carlson, poking fun at him in a series of tweets.

“Apparently Tucker Carlson had another tantrum over Utah last night. While I appreciate the free advertisement for @EqualityUtah on Fox News last night, I wish they had included a donation link:,” he tweeted.

“The new tactic from the right wing, perpetuated by Tucker, is to accuse LGBTQ people of “grooming” children. And yes, when gay youth ask me about my amazing hair, I actually DO recommend several product lines to chose from.”

Williams ended saying, “It’s a compliment that our work pisses off Tucker Carlson. I can sleep well knowing that.”

After ending his tirade against Cox, Carlson concluded saying, “So here you have a perfectly normal state, filled with perfectly happy normal people, somehow run by a low IQ, weakened MSNBC anchor. That doesn’t seem fair to the state of Utah, but it’s not just Spencer Cox.”

Romney was up next on Carlson’s list of what’s wrong with Utah.

“Utah’s junior senator Mitt Romney has also decided he’s tired of representing the people of Utah. So instead, he’s speaking for his neighbors in the state of California, where he lives a lot of the time,” he said.

Carlson criticized Romney for supporting Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, marching in a Black Lives Matter demonstration and calling former Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s comments about Ukraine “treasonous lies.”

Carlson and other conservatives have spread a conspiracy theory that the Biden administration was funding biological weapons laboratories in Ukraine but there is no evidence to support the claims, according to The New York Times.

View Comments

Carlson also has argued that the U.S. should align itself with Russia over Ukraine. “I think we should probably take the side of Russia, if we have to choose between Russia and Ukraine,” he said in 2019.

“And Tulsi Gabbard is a lot worse than Tony Fauci, who funded the production of a virus in China that killed millions of people? Is that treasonous? No, it’s not treason. It’s not, according to Mitt Romney,” Carlson said.

The majority of Republicans, the people who put Romney in office, want Fauci, White House medical adviser, to quit immediately, but not the Utah senator, Carlson said.

“He doesn’t care at all. Mitt Romney is not alone, of course, neither is Spencer Cox,” he said.” It turns out a lot of Republicans in red states serially betray their voters, give them the finger day, after day, after day. The question is: How long will Republican voters put up with this?”

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.