Kevin McCarthy admits he rented room from GOP pollster Frank Luntz
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However McCarthy, throughout an look on Fox Information, denied there was any battle of curiosity in sharing a house together with his longtime pal Luntz, a commucations guide for Republican causes and companies.
McCarthy’s chuckling affirmation got here a day after outraged Fox Information host Tucker Carlson first reported the California Republican’s curious residing association with Luntz in downtown Washington. McCarthy informed Fox Information he paid “honest market fee” for the room to Luntz.
Information reviewed by CNBC point out that Luntz purchased that three-bedroom, 3½-bath, 1,740 square-foot penthouse residence in 2018 for greater than $1 million.
The pad boasts “Italian home equipment” and a “rooftop patio,” in accordance an actual property website.
Carlson had expressed wide-eyed astonishment Monday evening that Luntz — who has been a verbal goal of his just lately — was appearing as McCarthy’s landlord.
Carlson’s ire stems from his perception that Luntz is “successfully a Democrat” — whom Carlson says additionally successfully “lobbies on behalf of a number of the world’s most left-wing companies” — whereas having the ear of “the management of the Republican Get together.”
“His views, make no mistake, bear no resemblance in any respect to the views of precise Republican voters,” Carlson fumed on his present.
Carlson started teeing off on Luntz final week after the pollster was quoted by Axios as saying “Republicans are extra pro-immigrant than elites notice.”
Carlson mentioned on his present he was tipped off to McCarthy staying with Luntz, however that McCarthy’s spokeswoman all however chuckled in first denying the tip Monday morning.
She mentioned McCarthy both slept on his workplace sofa or rented resort rooms when in Washington, in accordance with Carlson.
However that spokeswoman two hours later confirmed the tip in a textual content to Carlson’s present, saying, “Due to the [coronavirus] pandemic, McCarthy has rented a room in Washington at a good market worth from Frank.”
Carlson confirmed the message on his present after which mentioned, “Now you understand why they hearken to Frank Luntz and never you.”
When Fox and Buddies host Steve Doocy requested McCarthy on Tuesday morning about staying with Luntz — “What’s up with that?” — the lawmaker smiled.
“I did not know the way this was controversial,” McCarthy mentioned.
“Frank has been a good friend of mine for greater than 30 years.”
McCarthy then chalked up his use of Luntz’s residence to Democrats altering round places of work within the Home of Representatives — to not the Covid-19 pandemic, as his spokeswoman informed Carlson.
“As Democrats took over they began altering the Home round,” McCarthy informed Doocy.
Democrats received majority management within the Home two years in the past. So it’s not clear how a reconfiguration of places of work then led to McCarthy stick with Luntz extra just lately.
“Yeah, I rented a room from Frank for a few months, however don’t be concerned, I am going again to the place I’m usually … again to the sofa in my workplace,” McCarthy informed Doocy.
“We paid far-market lease,” McCarthy mentioned.
CNBC has reached out to McCarthy’s workplace to ask how lengthy precisely he stayed with Luntz, and what fee he paid the pollster.
“Frank’s not a lobbyist, Frank’s a good friend,” McCarthy informed Doocy when the Fox Information host identified Carlson’s criticisms. “I do not see that there is any downside there alongside that line.”
Luntz, a frequent visitor on CNBC, didn’t instantly return a request for remark.
— Extra reporting by CNBC’s Brian Schwartz and Christina Wilkie