On Friday the Democrat-led House Ethics Committee launched a formal investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz over a trash-talking tweet he’d posted months earlier, raising questions over whether Democrats are more interested in pushing meaningful legislation or playing political games to score points against President Donald Trump’s loyal supporters.
“Folks think they can get to the president through me because I work with the president a lot, talk to the president a lot,” the congressman theorized during an appearance Friday evening on Fox News’ “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”
“But look, I’m going to continue doing my work on behalf of my constituents, who overwhelmingly voted for me when I stood for election. I know who I’m here fighting for, and I know why I’m in the Congress fighting.”
He added that if Democrats want to waste their time “psychoanalyzing” his tweets versus pursuing an agenda beneficial to their constituents, that’s on them.
“But nothing regarding what I’ve put on Twitter impacts the lives of Americans, and the work I do in the Congress is geared toward making sure we have a safer and more secure country. I think that’s far more productive,” he added.
Listen to his full interview with host Martha MacCallum below:
The ongoing drama surrounds a trash-talking tweet Gaetz posted to Twitter in February, a day before the president’s former attorney Michael Cohen was set to testify to Congress about his time working for Trump.
“Hey @MichaelCohen212 – Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…,” the congressman wrote in the since-deleted twewet.
He essentially accused Cohen of cheating on his wife and suggested that details of his adultery would soon go public. For reasons that still remain unclear to this day, congressional Democrats and some establishment Republicans interpreted the tweet as a threat, including Russia collusion delusion conspiracy theorist and House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff.
“The first thought I had when I read about this, in addition to just being appalled at what looks like a blatant effort to intimidate this witness, is that this is the effect of the Trump presidency, and that is that kind of a sleazy attack on a witness before Congress is something we have come to expect out of the White House,” Schiff kvetched to CNN at the time.
Though Gaetz removed the tweet and apologized for it at the time (as seen below), he continues to maintain that he did nothing wrong — or at least nothing wrong enough to justify an investigation, especially given the significantly worse but unpunished offenses committed by some of his colleagues.
Speaker, I want to get the truth too. While it is important 2 create context around the testimony of liars like Michael Cohen, it was NOT my intent to threaten, as some believe I did. I’m deleting the tweet & I should have chosen words that better showed my intent. I’m sorry. https://t.co/Rdbw3sTQJD
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) February 27, 2019
“It really highlights the double standard that exists with today’s left,” he said to MacCallum. “We’ve got members of Congress, Maxine Waters, actually incite violence against Republicans and supporters of the president. We had Rashida Tlaib, before the ink was even dry on her election certificate, using profanity to talk about how she was going to impeach the president.”
“So I guess when a Republican says something that might go a little over the line, it might be treated a little differently. But at the end of the day, I’m not worried about it at all.”
The FNC host pushed back on this by pointing out that, if he has an issue with Waters and Tlaib, he can address those issues with the Ethics Committee himself. She then brought up Schiff’s criticism.
Gaetz replied by arguing that both Schiff’s criticism and recent events — including the left’s attacks against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway — demonstrate that there’s a “coordinated effort” to target the president’s loyal supporters.
“Look, Adam Schiff is someone who lied to our country for 22 months about the president being an agent of the Russian government,” he said. “I think there are three things that happened this last week. You had Robert Mueller’s testimony announced, you had the Oversight Committee ridiculing Kellyanne Conway and you had the Ethics Committee open up on me.”
“So there very well maybe a coordinated effort to go after people like me, people like Kellyanne Conway, who are effective advocates for a transformational president.”
As the discussion approached its conclusion, MacAllum asked Gaetz point-blank whether the president had played a role in the tweet he’d posted months earlier.
“Did the president ask you, did he say, you might want to put something out there on social media about Michael Cohen, the girlfriends and the whole bit — did you ever talk to him about any of that?” she asked.
“No, I’ve not had a conversation with the president that would bear any resemblance to that,” the congressman replied.
For her last question, MacAllum asked whether Gaetz is worried about reports that the Florida State Bar Association has opened its own investigation into him.
“I’ve not been involved in the practice of law,” the Florida congressman replied. “The Florida Bar has no mechanism to disbar me outside of a ruling or determination by the Florida Supreme Court, and I feel very confident that I will do quite well there.”
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