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Aides working for Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz sent embarrassing videos of their boss to other Republican operatives, Politico reported on Tuesday.
The news is not connected to a wide-ranging Justice Department investigation into whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a minor and violated federal sex trafficking laws. But it underscores Gaetz’s status as a wildcard on Capitol Hill, one who is widely disliked even within his own camp.
Perhaps the most deafening silence has come from former President Donald Trump, who counted Gaetz among his most loyal defenders. Indeed, the Florida Republican frequently made headlines for his fervent defense of Trump during congressional oversight hearings and his endorsement of Trump’s wildest conspiracy theories.
One former White House staffer told Insider this month, shortly after news of the Justice Department’s probe into Gaetz broke, that while the president’s former aides aren’t happy to see the congressman in hot water, they do “feel a little vindicated.”
“He’s the meanest person in politics,” the former staffer said.
Gaetz, for his part, has denied the allegations against him, writing in a Washington Examiner op-ed Monday that “the swamp is out to drown me with false charges.”
“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 lawmaker has largely come to his own defense over the last several days instead of speaking through his office, particularly after the resignation of his top communications aide, Luke Ball, on Friday.
Gaetz, meanwhile, said he has “absolutely” no plans to resign.
“I’m going to fight like hell for my constituents and the country I deeply love,” he wrote in the Washington Examiner.
Originally published at https://www.businessinsider.com/gaetz-aides-sent-embarrassing-videos-of-him-to-others-report-2021-4 on .