Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz says Haiti is full of 'sheet metal and garbage'


  • Screengrab via MSNBC
Everyone's least favorite Northwest Florida lawmaker is at it again, and this time he’s trolling virtually every reasonable individual who didn’t appreciate the president’s alleged “shithole countries” remarks. Which is to say Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, is pretty much trolling everyone.

On Tuesday night, during an interview with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Gaetz followed up on how President Donald Trump reportedly lamented Haiti and African nations as "shithole" countries while meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration reform last week, essentially saying he agreed with the president’s comments.
According to the Washington Post, when a bipartisan group of senators met in the Oval Office to discuss protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries last Thursday, Trump reportedly asked, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

Trump went on to say he wished more people from countries like Norway were coming to the U.S, as if to say he prefers immigrants from predominantly white nations.

The president, naturally, has denied saying as much, as has every lawmaker that was in the room, more or less – minus the lone Democrat in attendance, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois.

When probed on the president's alleged remarks, Gaetz told Hayes, “I would not pick those terms, but I would say that the conditions in Haiti are deplorable, they are disgusting. I mean, everywhere you look in Haiti, it’s sheet metal and garbage when I was there.”

Prior to what Gaetz said above, Hayes tried to engage Gaetz by asking how he’d feel if someone used similar language when describing Gaetz's native Florida. Hayes asked: “If I called – and you’ll forgive for using the language of the president – but if I called Okaloosa County a shithole, you’d understandably be upset with that, right?”

Gaetz, who represents Okaloosa County within his elected district, replied: “Yes. I could also prove you wrong, because I could bring you to Okaloosa County and show you that it’s the home of the most beautiful beaches in America. I don’t know that in Haiti they can make the same claim.”

They can, but let Gaetz be Gaetz when it comes to the frat boy rhetoric.

Earlier this month, the troller became the trolled when a billboard funded by Mad Dog PAC, an anti-Republican fundraising group, was erected in Pensacola. The billboard, with Gaetz’s mugshot from a 2008 DUI arrest slapped across the face of it, read: “Rep. Matt Gaetz, how many DUIs have you had? The voters deserve to know.”

As far as anyone knows, though, Gaetz only has one DUI – for now – which was the product of a routine traffic stop while on his way home from a nightclub in Fort Walton Beach almost a decade ago. The charge was later dropped, with the arresting officer tendering his resignation soon after.

Those critical of Gaetz have claimed the congressman received special treatment because of his father, former Florida Senate President Don Gaetz.

It could be argued that the billboard came as a result of the straw that broke the camel's back, when Gaetz cast the lone “no” vote on a widely bipartisan human trafficking bill that passed unanimously through the U.S. Senate in September before sailing through the House by a count of 418 to 1.

“What was he thinking?” asked Cris Dosev, Gaetz’s challenger in the 2018 Republican primary, following the congressman’s lonely nay.

Naturally, we assume Dosev wasn’t the first to ask such a question regarding Gaetz’s political decision-making.

Gaetz, who was elected to Congress in 2016, has repeatedly called for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to be removed from the Russia investigation in recent weeks, and for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from the investigation, to get more involved.

Adding to the increasing amount of skepticism cast over Gaetz’s sense of reasoning, one of Gaetz’s aides once wrote a bill with help from a conspiracy theory subreddit devoted to white nationalism and Trump.

And as if a cherry on top for Gaetz’s already illustrious resume of half-baked critical thinking and small government bravado is even necessary, he has has tried to push legislation that would abolish the EPA, even though Gaetz recently joined a bipartisan climate caucus.

Keep it coming, Gaetz. Keep it coming.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.