House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Fifth House Republican comes out in support of bipartisan infrastructure bill Watch live: McCarthy holds briefing with reporters MORE (R-Calif.) confirmed on Tuesday he rented a room from GOP pollster Frank Luntz during the coronavirus pandemic, news that was first reported by Fox News host Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonCritics blast Tucker Carlson's immigration remarks amid border surge Stefanik in ad says Democrats want 'permanent election insurrection' Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE the night before.
“I didn't know how this was controversial," McCarthy said on "Fox and Friends." "Frank has been a friend of mine for more than 30 years. I met him with Newt GingrichNewton (Newt) Leroy GingrichMORE back when they were working on the Contract with America," he added, referring to the former GOP Speaker from Georgia.
The minority leader said, "Democrats took over, they started changing the House around."
"And so, yes, I've rented a room from Frank for a couple of months but don't worry, I'm back to — going back to where I normally am, on my couch in my office," he said. "But, yes, we pay fair market rate.”
Carlson had suggested on his eponymous show the night before that the Republican leader might be violating House ethics rules by "living with a lobbyist for Google."
"Why do Republican officials listen more carefully to Frank Luntz than they do their own voters?" Carlson asked, saying the living arrangement would give Luntz an "outsized influence over the Republican Party's policy positions."
"Well, Frank's not a lobbyist. Frank's a friend I knew 15 years before I ever got in and I just rented a room for a few months there. So I don't see that there's any problem along that line," McCarthy responded. "But I'd like to see everybody stay together. Let's work to make sure we put people back to work, back to health, back to school. Stop this woke movement that's going on."
Luntz, one of the most influential pollsters in the country, has been critical of both Democrats and Republicans over the years.
He recently suggested based on polling he has conducted among U.S. voters that former President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE is viewed as "a genuine villain" and predicted "there isn't even a shred of hope for him if he should ever try to reenter politics."
McCarthy has been solidly loyal to the former president since he left office, visiting Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort and backing his most vocal supporters within his caucus.
Carlson is often critical of Trump's detractors, but has also questioned the leadership of the Republican establishment in Washington, D.C.
"He seems upset. I think he and Tucker must dislike each other, and I don't think that's right," McCarthy said of Luntz. "They need to get together and solve whatever difficulties because we've got to make sure that we put this country back on the right track. We were so successful under President Trump, and what President BidenJoe BidenHaiti prime minister warns inequality will cause migration to continue Pelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Erdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system MORE is doing today — the last thing we want to do is be fighting among ourselves."