Life moves pretty fast. For Matt Gaetz, one of the biggest Trump loyalists in Congress, Tuesday began with word that he may be considering leaving the House, pursuing a full-time gig at the far-right station Newsmax. (Previously he threatened to quit his job to defend Trump’s second impeachment trial. He didn’t do that.) It ended with The New York Times revealing that he’s being investigated over a possible sexual relationship with a minor.
As per the Times, the Justice Department has been looking into the situation since the final months of the Trump presidency, under former Attorney General William Barr. Gaetz has been suspected of paying a young woman to travel with him across state lines. The alleged relations occurred two years ago, when she was 17. If true, that’s a violation of numerous statutes, which make it illegal to induce someone under 18 to cross state lines to engage in sexual relations for pay. No charges have yet been brought up against the politician.
Gaetz told NYT that his lawyers had been in touch with the Justice Department, but that he was only a subject, not the target, of the investigation. Said target appears to be one of his political allies, a Florida official named Joel Greenberg, who was indicted last summer on a barrage of charges, among them sex trafficking of a child.
“I only know that it has to do with women,” Mr. Gaetz told the Times. “I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.”
Gatez has risen to notoriety as a close associate of Trump, and is regularly dragged on social media for some of his defenses of the disgraced former president. So when news broke about the investigation, mere hours after word that he may be transitioning into a TV personality full-time, there were jokes.
Startling lack of Matt Gaetz predictions in the QAnon archives.
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) March 30, 2021
Holy crap, Q was right! The government IS infested with sex traffickers and pedos. https://t.co/TUUqmCjPXP
— Mike Rothschild (@rothschildmd) March 30, 2021
from anti vax to newsmax to supermax: the matt gaetz story https://t.co/mTjSPDvitn
— Erin Zero Republicans Ryan (@morninggloria) March 30, 2021
At least there's already one witness who will swear he never saw Matt Gaetz do anything wrong pic.twitter.com/WQduoe6tJh
— Zeddy (@Zeddary) March 30, 2021
And some people wondering if the two stories have any kind of relation to each other.
What a crazy coincidence these Matt Gaetz stories both came out today pic.twitter.com/nLQKn4QBg1
— Left Flank Veterans (@leftflankvets) March 30, 2021
Well I guess we know why Matt Gaetz is thinking of leaving Congress early! Holy shit. https://t.co/gcoMIxvIIx
— Caroline Orr Bueno, Ph.D (@RVAwonk) March 30, 2021