I don’t know if Florida’s Representative Matt Gaetz (FL-1) did or did not have some kind of a
relationship with a 17-year-old girl or pay for her to travel with him, I don’t know if someone is extorting him and his family.
I’ve run into Matt Gaetz a few times and, as a consultant to the consultants, I wrote some direct mail for his father in the early days of his political career – but I can’t claim a relationship close enough to make me a character witness for Matt.
But as a conservative writer and longtime observer of how the Swamp works, both in DC and Tallahassee, I can be a character witness against his so-far anonymous accusers.
Matt Gaetz is just the latest in a long list of conservatives who have been singled out for scrutiny by the FBI and subjected to a campaign of leaks by unnamed sources. And strangely enough, all these allegations came to light after he emerged as one of the Republican Party’s most effective post-Trump spokesmen and went public with his criticism of Liz Cheney’s failed leadership of the House GOP.
Oh, and his name was floated as a possible statewide candidate in Florida’s 2022 election.
Republicans and conservatives with short term memory loss may not recognize the pattern or the narrative method here, but here’s how it worked against Donald Trump and various other rising Republicans:
Make the scurrilous allegation about sex, since sex sells and gets clicks.
Associate the target with a sketchy friend – in this case Joel Greenberg, the disgraced Seminole County, Florida Tax Collector.
Cite anonymous sources “briefed on the matter.”
Cite an anonymous victim or participant in the matter.
Stack-up the allegations in a series of ever-widening leaks.
Pressure those around the target to shun him, and then report that the target is isolated.
Use the FBI to pressure and embarrass the target’s associates.
Demand the target resign before all the facts are on the record.
You can go through the reporting on the allegations against Matt Gaetz and check every one of those items, about the only things missing are the seizure of the target’s phone and laptop in a pre-dawn raid.
While the allegations against Matt Gaetz remain largely the stuff of anonymous leaks, a few people who are in the know or should be, have finally gone on the record to call BS on the story.
Fox News reported, Nathan Nelson, a former director of military affairs for Rep. Gaetz, pushed back against the FBI after he said two agents questioned him as part of an ongoing investigation of the congressman.
Nelson told reporters during a Monday news conference that when agents went to his house to question him, they made it seem that they believed Nelson resigned because he was aware of Gaetz’s involvement in illegal activity. Nelson said that was false, and his departure from Gaetz’s office had been planned in advance.
"This baseless claim against me leaves me further convinced that the allegations against Congressman Gaetz are likewise fabricated and merely an attempt to discredit a very vocal conservative," Nelson said in a news conference organized by Gaetz's office.
Nelson, who said he remains "loosely affiliated" with Gaetz's office as an unpaid adviser, stated that he notified Gaetz’s office that he had spoken to FBI agents, but that he has not spoken to the congressman personally in months.
"It is a horrible allegation and it is a lie. The New York Times is running a story that I have traveled with a 17-year-old woman and that is verifiably false. People can look at my travel records and see that that is not the case. What is happening is an extortion of me and my family," Gaetz told Fox News' Tucker Carlson.
Was or is Matt Gaetz a partier? Does it even matter after the revelations about Kamala Harris and various other Democrats, such as New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo? Or is this another example of the two-tiered justice system that punishes Republicans and gives Democrats a pass?
Unlike GOP Congressman David Valadao (CA-21), who sent the proceeds of a campaign contribution from Matt Gaetz to an organization supporting domestic abuse survivors and Republican squish former Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia who demanded Matt Gaetz resign, I’m sticking with the American way and holding Matt Gaetz innocent until proven guilty.
Rep. Matt Gaetz