Fox News host Tucker Carlson and retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters got into a heated exchange on Tuesday night when Peters compared Carlson's stance on Russian President Vladimir Putin to a Nazi apologist.
"I'm not vouching for Putin's character, which he seems like a shady guy. A strong man for sure, wouldn't want to live there," Carlson said.
"He's a killer," Peters said.
"Hard to see why he's a threat to us. How many wars can we fight at once? How many people can we be in opposition to at once? Why not just accept that people who are bad people share our interests and side with them?" Carlson said.
Peters said that Carlson sounded like Nazi apologist Charles Lindbergh in 1938 saying, "Hitler hasn't attacked us." Carlson interjected to defend himself.
"I beg your pardon," Carlson said. "Slow, down. Hey, slow down, colonel. You cannot compare me to someone who can make apologies for Hitler and I don't think Putin is comparable to Hitler."
Peters pushed back, saying that he believes Putin is comparable to Hitler, but Carlson called it a "grotesque overstatement."
"Fine, you can think it's insane all you want," Peters said.
"You just compared me to a Nazi apologist because I asked a simple question," Carlson said. "Which is, why does it contravene American interest to make common cause with a group that's trying to kill ISIS?"
"Cause he invaded his neighbors, broken the long peace in Europe, he assassinates dissidents and journalists, he bombs women and children on purpose in Syria, he is as bad as Hitler," Peters said. "And I'm sorry, if you don't like the Charles Lindbergh thing, I will retract that. But let's just say you sound like someone in 1938 saying, ‘What's Hitler done to us?"
"Putin is the equivalent to Hitler," Peters added.
Carlson pushed back against Peters by pointing to his old columns and saying he would hate to go back and read the ones claiming that America would be safer if the United States took out Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
"I would hate to go back and read your columns assuring America that taking out Saddam Hussein will make the region calmer, more peaceful, and make America safer, when in fact it has done exactly the opposite and has empowered Russia and Iran, the two countries you say you fear most," Carlson said, referring to Peters' support for the Iraq War.
"Let's just be totally honest here, we don't always know the outcomes … so maybe we should lower the moral tone a little bit, rather than calling people ‘accomodationists," Carlson continued.
Peters said that Carlson's career has revolved around being an American conservative patriot and questioned why he was suddenly cheering for Putin.
"I'm not in any sense cheering for Vladimir Putin," said Carlson. "I am cheering for America as always. Our interests ought to come first. And to the extent that making temporary alliances with other countries serve our interests, I am in favor of that. Making sweeping moral claims, grotesque ones, comparing people to Hitler, advances the ball not one inch."