Rep. Matt Gaetz
As the scandal around Rep. Matt Gaetz grows the Florida Republican Congressman is trying to push back, with a former staffer holding a press event during which he admits he has no evidence Gaetz is innocent and Gaetz himself publishing an op-ed in a right wing media outlet promising to not resign.
“I am absolutely not resigning,” Gaetz says in the Washington Examiner, insisting the calls for him to call it quits are hypocritical and pushback because he “decided to take on the most powerful institutions in the Beltway.”
He insists he’s not guilty of a few very specific allegations: “I have never, ever paid for sex. And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old.”
And in very typical MAGA mode, Gaetz told his supporters, “They aren’t coming for me — they are coming for you. I’m just in the way.”
Meanwhile, in a curious twist, Republican leadership has announced they will call for Gaetz to resign, but only if he’s indicted, and they won’t wait for Democrats to demand he step down, MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin says, citing Punchbowl News.
Democrats are putting pressure on Gaetz and the Republican leadership.
“If in fact these allegations are true, of course being removed from the Judiciary Committee is the least that could be done,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters late last week, the AP reports, noting that “Pelosi’s comments fell short of the swift removal from the Judiciary Committee sought by at least one Democratic lawmaker.”
The Speaker added: “From what we’ve heard so far, this would be a matter for the Ethics Committee.”
And Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California last week tweeted to House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, “You don’t seem to get it. If it’s true Rep Matt Gaetz engaged in sex trafficking, he needs to resign and be prosecuted. In the meantime, you can’t have Gaetz sitting on the Congressional Committee that has oversight over the Department that is investigating him.”