Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz reportedly sought a preemptive pardon from former President Donald Trump for potential sex crimes for which he is currently under investigation.
The bombshell report ran in The New York Times yesterday and made Gaetz a trending topic again on social media.
The embattled congressman reportedly sought blanket pardons for himself and several unidentified congressional allies from the Trump White House in the waning days of the past presidency. And he was denied.
According to the report, Gaetz’s request occurred around the same time he advocated for Trump to provide blanket pardons to protect his supporters from the “bloodlust” of Democrats.
A spokesman for the representative told The New York Times “Entry-level political operatives have conflated a pardon call from Representative Gaetz — where he called for President Trump to pardon ‘everyone from himself, to his administration, to Joe Exotic’ — with these false and increasingly bizarre, partisan allegations against him.”
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“Those comments have been on the record for some time,” noted the spokesman, “and President Trump even retweeted the congressman, who tweeted them out himself.”
It is unclear if the former president knew the exact nature of the crimes for which Gaetz was under investigation, however, the potential sex trafficking violations investigation began under former Attorney General William Barr.
Gaetz closely aligned himself with Trump early in his race for the presidency. He became one of Trump’s biggest supporters throughout his two impeachment trials and his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. Gaetz also voted against the certification of the 2020 presidential election results on January 6.
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Trump had previously supported Gaetz, calling him a “great talent, young, handsome.” He thanked the congressman frequently for defending him, which many noted was a great way to get close to the former president, a huge fan of public admiration.
Since the sex trafficking inquiry became public, Gaetz’s voting record has also been under scrutiny. In 2017, he was the lone congressperson to vote against an anti-human trafficking bill.
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The New York Times also shared an excerpt from Gaetz’s 2020 book, Firebrand: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the MAGA Revolution, in which he bragged about taking calls from the president at any time, including, he wrote, “even in the throes of passion (yes, I answered.)”
Democratic strategist Joe Lockhart asked Wednesday morning on Twitter: “Why aren’t Republican leaders in DC being asked every day why they won’t call for @mattgaetz resignation. I seemed to remember a lot of questions and a lot of answers when it came to some Democrats.”
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