Screenshot via Matt Gaetz/Twitter
Florida representative Matt Gaetz is defending himself in any forum that will have him. After an absolutely bizarre interview
with Tucker Carlson found even that Fox News GOP diehard trying to put space between himself and Gaetz, the congressman has moved to conservative publication the Washington Examiner
. In a new op-ed, Gaetz compared the Washington establishment to the mafia and claimed he was being threatened for trying to upend this thing of theirs.
"Folks won’t be surprised that bizarre claims are being made about me shortly after I decided to take on the most powerful institutions in the Beltway: the establishment; the FBI; the Biden Justice Department; the Cheney political dynasty; even the Justice Department under Trump," he wrote. "Yes, just like the mafia, the D.C. swamp protects its “made men.” Since I’m taking my turn under the gun, let me address the allegations against me directly. First, I have never, ever paid for sex. And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old
Gaetz has claimed that the allegations against him are part of an extortion effort, a way of targeting his wealthy West Florida family. While he initially lead with this response, it pushed people to point out that an extortion attempt doesn't make the allegations untrue. The switch to unequivocal denial is noticeable in the piece.
Gaetz shared this op-ed as new reports of him sharing nude photos were published in the Washington Post
. Similar to a report shared last week by CNN, the new reporting connected the women in the photos directly to former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg. Greenberg is facing a litany of charges
including sex trafficking, embezzlement and misuse of government funds.
“Matt was never shy about talking about his relationship to Joel and the access to women that Joel provided him,” an anonymous source told the Post
The story comes after Gaetz was repeatedly lampooned by the national media over the weekend. Saturday Night Live
mentioned the Gaetz scandal twice, with Pete Davidson portraying the congressman as Family Guy
's resident pervert Quagmire. On Sunday, the comedy news show Last Week Tonight
took time out to explain the controversy. Host John Oliver marked Gaetz as the "only white man that Tucker Carlson won't defend."
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