Summary List Placement
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz published an op-ed in the Washington Examiner defending himself amid reports that the Justice Department is investigating whether he had a sexual relationship with a minor and broke federal sex trafficking laws.
In Monday’s piece titled, “The swamp is out to drown me with false charges, but I’m not giving up,” Gaetz wrote, “I have never, ever paid for sex. And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old.”
“Washington scandal cycles are predictable, and sex is especially potent in politics,” he wrote. “Let me first remind everyone that I am a representative in Congress, not a monk, and certainly not a criminal.”
Gaetz went on to say that the allegations against him were made up by the “DC swamp” and the mainstream media as part of an effort to sink the reputation of “a congressman who loathes the swamp and fights both sides of it on a daily basis.”
The Florida Republican also delivered a healthy dose of whataboutism by referencing sexual misconduct allegations against former President Bill Clinton and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as well as what he described as President Joe Biden’s “Ukraine scandal” and the anti-Trump group Lincoln Project’s “professions of moral superiority.”
“But when it comes to the allegation that I, a grown man, paid for an adult girlfriend’s expenses? Well, consider that a bridge too far for the power-hungry hypocrites,” he wrote.
- Fact check: Gaetz is not being investigated for paying for “an adult girlfriend’s expenses.” He is being investigated, among other things, over allegations that he had sex with a minor and paid for her travel, and broke sex trafficking laws by doing so. Investigators are also examining Gaetz’s alleged interactions with several women who were recruited online for sex and got cash payments.
Gaetz wrote that “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.”
- Fact check: Gaetz was elected to Congress in 2016 and has been serving in the House of Representatives since 2017. The Justice Department launched its investigation into him late last summer, more than three years after he took office.
The lawmaker said that while his “lifestyle of yesteryear may be different” from how he lives now, “it was not and is not illegal.”
“Consensual adult relationships are not illegal,” he wrote, adding later, “The Biden Justice Department would rather investigate me for adult, consensual sex than Hunter Biden for his shady business dealings, than others for illegal leaks, or a former Justice Department official for the evidence extortion of a congressman. Go figure.”
- Fact check: The Justice Department and FBI are able to conduct more than one investigation at a time. The bureau is scrutinizing Hunter Biden’s financial dealings, as Biden confirmed in a statement. It is also investigating the Gaetz family’s allegations that someone tried to extort them for $25 million, as Gaetz and his father confirmed last week.
“You’ll see more ‘drip, drip, drip’ of leaks into the media from the corrupt Justice Department and others,” Gaetz wrote. “When you do, ask yourself why. They aren’t coming for me — they are coming for you. I’m just in the way.”
He also reiterated that he has “absolutely” no plans to resign.
“I’m going to fight like hell for my constituents and the country I deeply love,” Gaetz wrote.
Originally published at https://www.businessinsider.com/matt-gaetz-publishes-oped-defending-himself-doj-sex-probe-2021-4 on .