Fox News host Tucker Carlson was angered after Congressman Matt Gaetz attempted to rope him into a scandal involving allegations related to sex trafficking of a minor, a person familiar with the matter said.
“It pissed him off,” the person familiar with the matter explained to CNN on Wednesday.
Gaetz, who has strongly denied allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her travel with him, seemed to attempt to draw Carlson into the controversy during a bizarre Tuesday night interview.
The Florida lawmaker first referenced a previous allegation of sexual misconduct against Carlson, which the Fox News host has denied, saying that he was “not the only person on screen right now who’s been falsely accused of a terrible sex act.”
Then, and more interestingly, Gaetz suggested Carlson had met a woman involved in the recent controversy related to the sex allegations. Gaetz said that woman was threatened by the FBI to tell people he was involved in a “pay to play scheme.”
A person familiar with the DOJ investigation told CNN that the probe is part of a broader probe into trafficking allegations against another Florida politician. Gaetz has not been charged with a crime.
“You and I went to dinner about two years ago,” Gaetz told Carlson. “Your wife was there, and I brought a friend of mine, you’ll remember her.”
Carlson immediately denied knowledge of the dinner.
“I don’t remember the woman you are speaking of or the context at all, honestly,” Carlson said.
After the interview concluded, Carlson described it as “one of the weirdest” he’s “ever conducted.”
A representative for Fox did not offer a comment. Gaetz’s office also did not respond to a request for comment.
CNN’s Ryan Nobles contributed to this report.