Update: Rep. Matt Gaetz released a statement over Twitter denying sexual misconduct accusations and calling on the Department of Justice to release evidence purportedly supporting his claims of extortion:
Over the past several weeks my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name. We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter and my father has even been wearing a wire at the FBI’s direction to catch these criminals. The planted leak to the New York Times tonight was intended to thwart that investigation. No part of the allegations against me are true, and the people pushing these lies are targets of the ongoing extortion investigation. I demand the DOJ immediately release the tapes, made at their direction, which implicate their former colleague in crimes against me based on false allegations.
Original Report: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is reportedly considering leaving Congress for a job at Newsmax once his current term is up in 2022.
Gaetz has told several associates he is considering making the jump from public service to the media industry, according to Axios. One of the associates said that Gaetz and Newsmax have been in early discussions about what his potential role could be. The congressman has expressed interest in becoming a media personality.
Gaetz has previously considered a run at higher office. In 2019, a lawmaker who knows Gaetz told The Hill that the Florida congressman was considering moving to Alabama and running for Senate.
“He’s talking about running for Senate in Alabama. They have a one-day residency requirement there,” the lawmaker said. “POTUS [President of the United States] would probably endorse him.”
The report on Gaetz’s future plans comes as the congressman faces allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Gaetz “is being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him,” citing three people briefed on the investigation.
The congressman denied the allegations, linking them to an extortion effort against his family.
“The allegations of sexual misconduct against me are false,” Gaetz told Axios. “They are rooted in an extortion effort against my family for $25 million … in exchange for making this case go away.”
Gaetz has a reputation for being outspoken in the House and was one of former President Donald Trump’s most ardent defenders on and off network media. In January, Gaetz led a push in the House to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from her leadership position in the caucus. The congressman traveled to Wyoming to rally against Cheney over her vote to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol.
“How can you call yourself a representative when you don’t represent the will of the people,” Gaetz, told a crowd of several hundred outside the state capitol. “That’s what all the neocons ask about the Arab dictators. I figure maybe we ought to ask the same question of a beltway bureaucrat turned fake cow girl that supported an impeachment that is deeply unpopular in the state of Wyoming.”
“The truth is that the establishment in both political parties have teamed up to screw our fellow Americans for generations,” Gaetz said. “The private insider club of Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, Nancy Pelosi and Liz Cheney, they want to return our government to its default setting: enriching them.”
The next month, Gaetz began pricking Democrats in the House who had just taken control after the November election. The Florida congressman requested the Judiciary Committee recite the Pledge of Allegiance before each hearing in a show of unity.
“I understand and appreciate the significance and importance of the work that we do, and I just think it would be nice, if in the spirit of national unity and national pride, which I know we all aspire to do to a greater extent, that the beginning of each meeting, the chair, or one of the designees of the chair, would have the opportunity to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance,” Gaetz requested.
Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler shot him down, saying that reciting the pledge is “unnecessary.”
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