Trump is putting his newfound love of communicating via press releases — because really, who needs social media these days — to good use. Well, by “good” we mean he’s chosen to issue a kind of pathetic statement defending suspected child sex trafficker Matt Gaetz.
Gaetz, as you’re probably well aware, is a Florida congressman currently under investigation by the Department of Justice for sex trafficking and for allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl whom he may have paid in perks like travel and hotel accommodations. The Florida congressman has made a series of bizarre TV appearances and taken to social media to defend himself, claiming, among other things, that his father had at one point been wearing a wire for the FBI to expose an extortion plot supposedly organized by a former federal prosecutor. And while the scandal began to publicly unfold in early March, it seems Gaetz may have known authorities were planning a probe long before then.
According to a New York Times report, Gaetz floated a request to former President Trump’s team for a “blanket pardon” in the final days of his presidency. The report never claimed that Gaetz spoke directly to Trump about the pardon, just his staffers, but according to sources who spoke with ABC News, Trump was made aware of the request. All of this makes the former president’s most recent press release that much more strange.
Trump’s office sent out an incredibly brief statement denying that Gaetz ever asked the president for a pardon and reminding people that Gaetz himself has denied the sex trafficking allegations raised against him.
Trump releases a statement denying Gaetz ever asked for a pardon and reminding people Gaetz has denied allegations against him. (Reports said Gaetz didn’t ask Trump directly for a blanket pardon – he asked the WH and Trump was made aware) pic.twitter.com/8ZmGQoZzGC
— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) April 7, 2021
It’s a surprisingly evasive defense that doesn’t really address the Times claims and basically ends with a “remember folks, this guy is saying he didn’t do these bad guy things so let’s give him a break.” Probably not the rousing display of moral support Gaetz was hoping for but hey, when half your base thinks you’re still working on a plan to break up the political cabal of pedophiles currently embedded in Washington D.C., you’ve got to be picky about who your friends are.