House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) says he “didn’t know how [it] was controversial” that he had rented a room at the home of GOP pollster Frank Luntz. Critics such as Fox News host Tucker Carlson have, with very good reason, labeled Luntz a “Google lobbyist.” But why should McCarthy understand? Washington, D.C. is a company town, and the various players operate in the same chummy circles, no matter which office of The Company they may occupy. In the Swamp, when you’re there, you’re family.
“His main clients are left-wing corporations like Google,” Carlson said of Luntz on his April 30 program. Carlson went on to list Luntz’s extensive history of lobbying on behalf of numerous big-brand companies well known for their wokeness today.
The Fox host additionally pointed out how the ostensibly Republican Luntz uses meaningless focus groups to present “his own personal opinions as social science.” He deftly mocked Luntz’s recent amazing “discovery” that Trump supporters in the GOP ranks overwhelmingly favor granting amnesty to illegal aliens. There was much more damning information presented.
“So why does Frank Luntz remain a fixture in Republican politics at a time when the companies he works for are opposed to the Republican Party, explicitly so?” Carlson asked and then answered his own question: “Well, in part because he is particularly close to [McCarthy]… and has been since McCarthy entered politics.”
Then, on May 3, came an update. “Turns out we didn’t know the half of it,” Carlson exclaimed. “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,” the astonished Fox News host continued. “Kevin McCarthy lives in Frank Luntz’s apartment in downtown Washington.” A McCarthy spokesperson quickly denied the news, but McCarthy himself acknowledged it one day later. “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 explained.
“Frank has been a friend of mine for more than 30 years,” the top-ranking House Republican stated in his defense. McCarthy is not lying when he says that he does not see the problem. This is the world D.C. careerists inhabit. It’s not merely a network; it’s a cocoon.
Brett, Merrick and Me
Here’s another example meant only to illustrate just how incestuous a place Washington can be.
Remember the bitterly partisan wars fought over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination in 2018? Beth Wilkinson served as Kavanaugh’s attorney during his Senate confirmation hearings. Wilkinson is best known as the prosecutor working under current Biden Attorney General Merrick Garland who got Timothy McVeigh the death penalty during the Bill Clinton administration.
This much was duly reported in 2018. But there was more. Wilkinson and Garland were so close that Garland performed the wedding ceremony when she married former NBC News Meet the Press host David Gregory in 2000. And Gregory and Kavanaugh themselves traveled in the same social circles. “The two men knew each other; their daughters played together on the middle-school basketball circuit, and they had had dinners at the home of their mutual friend Miguel Estrada,” Washington journalist Ruth Marcus wrote in a 2019 book on the Kavanaugh circus.
In 2001, Estrada was nominated by Republican President George W. Bush to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. After Democrats conducted a long, drawn-out campaign against him, which included the use of the filibuster, Estrada removed his name from consideration in 2003.
In 2018, Gregory appeared on a national cable news network to defend his old dinner partner. “I think it’s really important that we point out that any Republican would have made this selection,” Gregory told CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin while scolding him for labeling Kavanaugh a radical. “It’s a total red herring that people talk about it being outsourced to The Federalist Society and President Trump had this list during the campaign. That’s all fine. I mean, any Republican would have worked off of this template of judges.”
More absurd is Gregory using his TV “commentator” role to praise the nomination of Garland, the man who officiated at his wedding, to be attorney general earlier this year. “And now he’s called on to do a couple of things to send a message about civil rights in this country… and of course, dealing with January 6th, and the larger issue of domestic terrorism,” Gregory said of Garland on CNN’s New Day on February 22, according to a transcript of the show posted on the network’s website.
“And, you know, Judge Garland is someone who’s uniquely qualified in that regard, overseeing the Oklahoma City bombing investigation, and both trials, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols,” Gregory proclaimed. It begs the question: How many social conflicts of interest in Washington do we not know about?
“Kevin McCarthy promises Republicans he shares their values,” Tucker Carlson summarized. “He tells them he’s on their side. He says that he will fight for them against permanent Washington, the forces that would like to destroy their lives…. And at the end of the day, Kevin McCarthy goes home to Frank Luntz’s apartment in Penn Quarter and he laughs about it.”
Given the familial nature of life in the Swamp, McCarthy probably isn’t the only one giggling.
Read more from Joe Schaeffer.