Frank Luntz, a longtime GOP pollster, is not too happy with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson’s recent criticism. On The New York Times’s “Sway” podcast Thursday, Luntz said he believes Carlson’s reporting is a product of the Fox News host’s supposed inclination to run for president.
“Tucker realizes that he can make any accusation he wants to make, and that cadre, because he’s very popular among a certain segment of conservatism,” Luntz claimed.
“I think Tucker is running for president. And I think that’s what he’s going to do. And I think he’s going to try to demonize and destroy anyone who might stand up against him. And that’s all that this is,” Luntz said.
Earlier this week, Carlson reported on a tip that Luntz was renting a room to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in his Washington D.C. apartment. He alleged McCarthy’s actions violated ethics rules in the House about receiving gifts — since Luntz has worked for Google. Below is the transcript from the Fox News segment:
Over the weekend, we got a call from a source who said that, in fact, Frank Luntz and Kevin McCarthy are not simply friends, they’re roommates. Kevin McCarthy lives in Luntz’s apartment in downtown Washington. That’s what we were told, and honestly, we did not believe it. The top Republican in the House lives with a Google lobbyist? Come on. Even by the sleazy and corrupt standards of politics in Washington, that didn’t seem possible. In fact, it sounded like a joke.
This morning, since we heard it we called to check with Kevin McCarthy’s spokeswoman, and when we raised this she all but chuckled at the suggestion, ‘No when he’s in Washington,’ she told us, ‘Kevin McCarthy rents hotel rooms, or sleeps in his office in the Capitol,” Carlson continued. “He certainly isn’t living with Frank Luntz.’ Okay, and that seemed logical to us, but we did press a little bit because we got the tip from someone reliable and we just wanted to be sure. So the spokeswoman said she would get back to us.
Two hours later, we got this text. Quote: ‘Following up on our conversation from earlier today. Because of the pandemic, McCarthy has rented a room in Washington at a fair market price from Frank.’
Luntz denied any wrongdoing on the Times podcast. “I’m not a lobbyist. I’ve worked through Google on language. I don’t advocate for them,” he said.
Prior to this segment on Luntz, Carlson referenced an Axios piece in which Luntz said “Republicans are more pro-immigrant than elites realize,” to which the Fox News host ridiculed Luntz for not supporting law and order.
Luntz said on Newsmax “Trump voters support the Dream Act” and “the ability of these people who are brought here … the ability to earn a path to citizenship.” He added that “we need these people.”
“Frank Luntz doesn’t want to debate it,” Carlson said. “He wants instead to pretend that his personal opinions are established fact and that the Republican Party had better listen to them and obey.”
It is a non-sequitur whether or not Carlson may run for the presidency in 2024. As of now, there is no indication that he is.
In August, the Fox News host told Mediate’s podcast “The Interview” that he “never wanted to be involved” in an effort to run for the presidency and that it is “hard to imagine” he could be a legitimate candidate. Carlson also said in 2019 at the National Conservatism Conference that he would “never” run for president.
Luntz is side-stepping and avoiding any criticism with a copout. It’s a hallmark example of an elite GOP ally who has run the show too long to prove their unworthiness to fairly engage in discourse with dissenters. Carlson’s occupation entails reporting on elites like Luntz. But Luntz sees it differently, it seems.