We live in a time when conservatives breathlessly espouse personal freedoms but come up curiously empty on personal responsibility for just about anything of consequence, and no politician seems to embody that more these days than Matt Gaetz. The Florida congressman is currently embroiled in a scandal that’s grown to include allegations of a relationship with a 17-year-old, drugs and curious financial payments to an accused sex trafficker and dogged the fervent Donald Trump ally in recent days.
But Gaetz has blamed basically everyone but himself for the scandal, refusing calls for him to resign and claiming that anyone who thinks he’s done something wrong is simply trying to “cancel” him. The fact that he’s being “canceled” for allegations of some serious, QAnon-level crimes doesn’t seem to matter here. On Saturday, following a “Save America” rally at a Trump property in Florida where he insisted he was “not going anywhere,” Gaetz doubled down on Twitter to accuse the “deep state” for wrongly targeting him for cancelation.
I may be a canceled man in some corners. I may even be a wanted man by the Deep State.
But I hear the millions of Americans who feel forgotten, canceled, ignored, marginalized and targeted.
I draw confidence knowing that the silent majority is growing louder every day.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) April 10, 2021
The “Deep State” is a term conservatives tend to deploy to describe shadowy forces apparently in the US government and corporations that work to control America, often at the expense of conservatives and Republican ideals. But the idea that Gaetz is simply “canceled” by woke liberals is fairly absurd given the seriousness of the investigation against him, let alone the idea that his public Venmo transactions and potentially ushering underage women across borders is somehow an act of the Deep State. Which is why his message didn’t exactly go over very well on Twitter.
venmo is part of the deep state https://t.co/mM36k7HKez
— Talia Lavin (@chick_in_kiev) April 10, 2021
You may be a cancelled man wanted by the Deep State. More likely, you are a sex trafficker wanted by the FBI. https://t.co/eHHTKAJMuC
— Bryan Behar (@bryanbehar) April 11, 2021
Except that “millions of forgotten Americans” aren’t being investigated in connection to allegations of lurid sexual activity and potential crimes. You are. So… you’re kind of alone on that front, congressman. https://t.co/bzY6Zuz3Iq
— Joy-Ann Pro-Democracy & Masks Reid 😷 (@JoyAnnReid) April 11, 2021
You should probably stop. And don’t you dare try to compare yourself to actually marginalized people. https://t.co/xoLAE6scFB
— VoteVets (@votevets) April 11, 2021
*Zack de la Rocha voice* Born of a canceled man, but not a canceled man https://t.co/8c4zvn4zU3
— pixelatedboat aka “mr tweets” (@pixelatedboat) April 11, 2021
Matt (@RepMattGaetz), I've represented thousands of folks charged with crimes. Some innocent—many guilty. Only a couple had the gall to blame their actions on a massive government conspiracy or position themselves as a martyr the way you've distastefully done here. Own your ****. https://t.co/Q5mvfzQsuQ
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) April 11, 2021
The tweet sparked the phrase “DEEP STATE” to trend on Twitter on Saturday, and drew a number of points of clarification from people responding online. It was the Justice Department during the Trump administration, for example, that apparently opened the investigation into potential Gaetz wrongdoing. But none of that seems to matter when Gaetz can lump his case into the growing list of things such as Mr. Potato Head, Pepe Le Pew, and Dr. Seuss that MAGA folks insist are being wrongly canceled. But only one of those, mind you, has an open federal investigation against them that’s been made public knowledge.