This Is Tucker’s Trinity

By Talia Cutler ’27

Staff writer

Trinity College is rife with famous alums. “Fight Song” singer Rachel Platten, Jake and Maggie Gyllenhall(‘s Dad) and Mascot and alleged Hall member Banty the Bantam. Oh – and the infamous (formerly) most-watched news host in America – Tucker Carlson. 

Our administration wouldn’t tell you that, though. But why? Trinity College is openly dedicated to uplifting alumni. The school Instagram page is littered with updates on their accomplishments, and the alumni page is full of heartwarming stories and uplifting messages from the school to their graduates. The community support is undeniable, and this is no accident. The college website boasts of “fostering community” and “caring for the school’s proud alumni.” So why is Tucker noticeably missing from all this? The answer is simple, and quite hypocritical: he is too Trinity. 

Earlier this year, Tucker Carlson ‘91 interviewed Vladimir Putin. The broadcast got six million views on YouTube only 24 hours after it was uploaded and has hundreds of millions of impressions on X. While Carlson’s signature tie is famously red (the color of the GOP, the “FOX News” logo and the Devil), Tucker donned a blue and yellow striped number. Fellow Bants recognized it as the colors of his alma mater. Trinity was silent. No Instagram posts boasting that a Trinity grad had just interviewed one of the most powerful people in the world, no acknowledgment of Carlson’s renowned level of success in his industry, nothing. But truthfully, who can blame them? 

Tucker Carlson has been described by The New Yorker as ​”the most influential voice in right-wing media, without a close second.” On the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show, which he hosted on “FOX News” from 2016 to 2023, Carlson accused immigrants of making the country “poorer, and dirtier, and more divided.” On June 3, 2020, Carlson monologued about unarmed Black Americans who were killed by police, proceeding to explain his reasoning as to why each victim deserved to be killed. Carlson also claimed that the concept of white supremacy was a “hoax.” In 2019, clips resurfaced of a radio show called “Bubba The Love Sponge” on which Tucker was a regular guest from 2006-2011. The clips have Carlson crediting white men for “creating civilization,” calling Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys” and defending convicted child rapist and cult leader Warren Jeffs. 

As international attention falls upon Carlson after the Putin interview, so has interest in his background. However, his legacy at Trinity would probably best be left to the imagination. A New Yorker article published Jan. 26 ran a brief paragraph speaking to Carlson’s educational history. “His college applications were rejected, but the headmaster [and Carlson’s future father-in-law] exerted influence at his own alma mater, Trinity College, and Carlson was admitted. He did not excel there; he went on to earn what he described as a ‘string of D’s.’” Not an amazing look, but who expected anything else?

GQ ran an article in 2017 titled “Tucker Carlson Is Sorry for Being Mean.” “Carlson wasn’t the greatest student—one of his college highlights was home-brewing a beer that he named Coal Porter,” the article jabs. Neil Patel — Carlson’s roommate at Trinity and co-founder of The Daily Caller (an alt-right news platform Tucker Carlson also co-founded in 2010) remarked “[Carlson’s] personality was not similar to what it is now; it was exactly the same.” Business Insider touched on Carlson’s reputation before his rise to fame, calling him a “gleeful contrarian — an indefatigable debater and verbal jouster who, according to some, could also be a bit of a jerk.”

While this news may be an inspiration to Trinity poli-sci majors, these mainstream publications all share a similar narrative: Tucker Carlson was (and still is) a loser. To our administration, Carlson stands for everything they abhor. His matriculation is a stain upon the institution. Unsurprisingly, Tucker feels the same way about them. He has openly expressed his disdain for the college. “The left wrecked my alma mater,” Tucker said in 2017 during his segment on FOX. “Trinity used to be a good school. But a combination of lower standards, frivolous classes, low-grade authoritarianism and buffoons […] ruined it. […] Who would want to go there now?” Tucker asks his audience rhetorically, “would you send your kids there?” The whole thing feels like a messy public breakup between Trinity and its most famous alum. It’s almost ripped from the tabloid headlines — “TC and TC butt heads, writes TC, making a trinity!” 

I understand that one alum does not reflect the values of our school, and one could easily brush Tucker Carlson off as a fluke, a bad apple, an outlier to Trinity’s reputation. I’m not so sure that is the case here. Carlson’s television persona conjures the image of a corn-fed pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps American. At least, this is the audience that he panders to. Would Tucker rather the world forget his private school education and graduation from a small liberal arts school in New England? Or is his privileged upbringing and subsequent rise to power in dirty politics indicative of the people and values that Trinity churns out? Trinity College is loud about its commitment to DEI and exercising tolerance, but is that really the sentiment we see practiced everyday in our community? 

Tucker Carlson, whether he (or the school) likes it or not, is a product of a Trinity College education and culture. If the institution is so ashamed of its association, (and their silence speaks volumes to this) perhaps it should lean away from the prep-school Ivy-reject archetype that constitutes the majority of its student body and put thought into the people that end up in the accepted pile in the admissions office. 

Tucker Carlson departed campus in 1991, but I feel like I’ve met him here many times — I overhear his boisterous conversations in the concrete jungle behind the thin walls, he cuts me in line at Peter B’s and he acts like a fool at Campus Pizza. He interrupts me in class with the wrong information, he thinks his music taste is “peak” and his room decor is all from H&L. He is a loser. Tucker Carlson may be gone, but his duplicates are left behind. Despite their odium, Trinity never stopped accepting him.

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