The Closer You Look, the Worse it GaetzRoundup
tags: Congress, sex scandals, Matt Gaetz, Misconduct
Claire Potter is Co-Executive Editor of Public Seminar and Professor of History at The New School.
A conservative politician should know he is in trouble when the National Review thinks his days are numbered. “Congressman Matt Gaetz,” mused Isaac Schor of the National Review last week, as if rolling the words around on his tongue. “One way or another, it seems the pairing of that title and that name is not long for this world.”
So bad for the brand when these things become national news.
Believe it or not, the Gaetz investigation has been bubbling along since the final, wheezing months of the Trump administration. It’s a lesson in flagrant violations of human dignity: the case has surfaced not only the possible trafficking of a 17-year-old girl but Gaetz’s habit of flashing the pictures of naked women he kept on his phone to House colleagues.
The unfolding Gaetz scandal is a good example of how perilous it can be to reverse the appropriate, God-given roles of penis and brain if you act like Donald Trump but aren’t actually Donald Trump. No one throws Trump under the bus lightly. Gaetz, however, appears to have been offered up by a certain Joel Greenberg, a central Florida tax collector indicted last summer on multiple charges, including “sex trafficking of a child and financially supporting people in exchange for sex, at least one of whom was an underage girl.”
Gaetz is best known to the public, up to now, for his more successful performances as Donald Trump’s Mini-Me. His activities have included endangering national security, mocking measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, hanging out with the Proud Boys, claiming that the Democratic party was behind the urban violence protesting the death of George Floyd in summer 2020 (causing one Democrat, during Gaetz’s speech, to point to his own skull and twirl his finger, the universal symbol for “cuckoo bananas”), and dumping on Liz Cheney (R-WY).
Throughout his time in Congress, Gaetz, according to CNN, has also been well-known on Capitol Hill for bragging about his sex life and showing his colleagues dirty pictures, sometimes on the House floor. According to two sources, Gaetz showed colleagues nude pictures of women he claimed to have slept with, including “a naked woman with a hula hoop.”
To make sure we are on the same page here: if any of the pictures in Gaetz’s possession were of underage women, and if he did transport a minor across state lines for sex, we are talking about federal charges too.
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