Fox News host Tucker Carlson recently had dinner with George W. Bush, according to a Politico report. The publication claimed that the pair dined at the home of one of their neighbors on Gasparilla Island, Florida.
The recent meeting comes after months of speculation that Carlson could be a frontrunner for the Republican Party's 2024 presidential nomination. The Guardian called the commentator the "heir apparent" to Donald Trump's legacy and pointed to the success of his television show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, which focusues on many of the same topics that were important to the president has throughout his term in the Oval Office.
The news of Carlson's dinner with Bush reignited speculation on social media.
"tucker carlson is going to be the 2024 gop nominee and he's going to campaign from his nightly fox show," one user tweeted.
"I believe Tucker is going for it, he's got his pulpit and he speaks to Trump's base. Get ready for round 2," another wrote.
"I'll take this as further evidence of Carlson going for a 2024 presidential bid," another chimed in.
The television host has maintained a close relationship with the commander-in-chief throughout his presidency. He allegedly talked the head of state out of attacking Iran, and also pressured him to take the coronavirus more seriously.
Former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt predicted that Carlson would secure the party's 2024 nomination and pointed to the parallels between him and Trump. The Guardian also noted that the commentator has faced criticism for allegedly dog-whistling white nationalists — an allegation also levied at the head of state. Many reports have pointed to his support from the neo-Nazi websites Stormfront and Daily Stormer.
"When you have all these white nationalists celebrating Tucker's show, you think, 'What's going on here?'" said Angelo Carusone, president of the progressive organization Media Matters for America.
According to Politico, Carlson has been dismissive of running for president in the past. Political operative Roger Stone allegedly pressured the journalist to run on the Libertarian ticket in 2012, although the lobbyist said he had no memory of doing so.
Regardless, GOP insiders reportedly believe the Fox News host has his finger on the pulse of the party.
"If you are a Republican politician and you want to know where Republican voters are, all you have to do is watch Tucker Carlson every night," a strategist close to the White House said.
As The Inquisitr reported, the Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is giving Carlson 50/1 odds of victory in the 2024 presidential election, which is equal to an approximately 1.96 percent chance of winning. Comparatively, it gave President-elect Joe Biden 4/1 odds of winning.