What you need to know about the Matt Gaetz controversy

Congressman Matt Gaetz speaks to reporters outside the White House's West Wing

Congressman Matt Gaetz speaks to reporters outside the White House’s West Wing

Known for its flashy lifestyle and frequent controversial affairs, Republican rising star Matt Gaetz can now be caught up in a sex scandal with very realistic legal dangers.

Gatesgate began last week with a report that a third MP from Florida may have had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, as it is called. Since then, the story has swirled into the world of “sugar daddies,” the world of men, blackmail, fraud, and sexual trafficking who generously give cash and gifts to young women.

Includes reports that Gates showed a photo of a nude woman to lawmakers on his phone On the floor of the House of Representatives, he bragged about his sexual exploitation.

The House of Representatives violently denied all claims and rejected the call to resign. However, one of Donald Trump’s most loyal defenders, who has been stranded by the former president throughout all of his scandals and controversies, is now facing his own existential political crisis.

Who is Matt Gaetz (and why do we need to care)?

Gates was first elected to the US Parliament in 2016 and represented the House of Commons district in Salient, northern Florida. The region is more politically similar to the adjacent arch-conservative Alabama than the state’s multicultural southern tip. Prior to that, he spent six years in the Florida State Capitol.

Junior members of the House of Representatives usually struggle relatively anonymously unless they are familiar with the media at the Alexandria Ocasio Cortez level or boast influential political ties.

Gates had both-and used them to become the main face of a new generation of Republican politicians.

According to the liberal watchdog group Media Matters, the 38-year-old politician frequently appears as a guest on conservative cable news because of his good looks, good hair, and sharp tongue.

Upon taking office in Congress, he quickly gained popularity and caught the eye of Donald Trump, the most powerful consumer of conservative media content.

Gates became Trump’s regular warm-up speaker whenever the former president campaigned in Florida during the 2020 reelection bid. He met his fiancé, 26-year-old Ginger Lucky, while visiting the resort of Mar-a-Lago in Trump. He posted a Twitter selfie taken with Air Force One.

Congressman Matt Gaetz walks with his fiancé Ginger Lucky

Congressman Matt Gaetz and his fiancé Ginger Lucky allegedly met at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Resort.

Florida lawmakers wore gas masks on the floor of the House of Representatives and joined a group of Republicans during a debate on the first coronavirus pandemic aid bill in March 2020, in various virus-promotion stunts. Increased political notoriety. Parliament forced their way to take testimony of private members of the House of Representatives during the preparation period for the first impeachment of Trump in 2019.

In January, Gates visited Wyoming to condemn Trump and hold a rally against Republican parliamentary leader Liz Cheney, who resolved to impeach after the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

He is also connected to some stories on strange boundaries such as: His last year’s revelation that he lives with a 19-year-old non-biological, unadopted “son”, Cuban immigrant Nester Galvan.I met Galvan when he was 12 and Gates was dating his sister.

What is your allegation against Gates?

Gates, first disclosed by The New York Times, has been investigated by the US Department of Justice for having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paying her to cross state boundaries. (Trafficking minor children between states for sex is a federal crime).

Beginning under Trump’s appointed Attorney General William Barr, the investigation reportedly involved sexual trafficking that led to the indictment of Gates friend and local Florida politician Joel Greenberg. Seems to be part of a larger study.

A 36-year-old former tax collector living in Seminor County near Orlando was arrested last June and has since been charged with various crimes including stalking, fraud, bribery, embezzlement, spoofing, counterfeiting and sex trafficking. ..

According to The Times, this latest study focuses on whether Greenberg and Gates are looking for women on so-called “Sugar Daddy” websites.

People cheer when Congressman Matt Gaetz speaks to the crowd at a rally with Liz Cheney in Wyoming on January 28th.

Matt Gaetz supported efforts to expel Congressman Liz Cheney, who voted in favor of Donald Trump’s impeachment.

“The Times confirmed receipts from the mobile payment app Cash App, Apple Pay, which Gaetz and Greenberg paid to one woman, and Greenberg to a second woman. It shows payment, “Times reports. “The woman told her friend that the payment was for sex with two men, according to two people familiar with the conversation.”

Greenberg and Gaetz were also recorded by security cameras a few years ago. According to information provided to Orlando Sentinel by an unnamed source, he enters a closed tax collector’s office on the weekends. The footage also reports that Greenberg is passing through a basket of returned driver’s licenses that are scheduled to be disposed of.

“According to the indictment, Greenberg used access as an elected civil servant to search state databases for information about girls between the ages of 14 and 17 and create fake ID cards. It facilitated efforts to engage in commercial activities. Sexual activity, “said Sentinel.

The friendship between Greenberg and Gates is most prominent in the photos Greenberg tweeted at the 2019 White House event, and the friendship with Trump’s best friend Roger Stone since 2017 has been at least politically. Prove that you are doing damage. It may still turn out to be a legal threat.

What does Gates say?

Gates denies sexual relations with minor girls, paying for sex with women, or accessing the “Sugar Daddy” website. He said he was “generous” with his girlfriend in the past, but he has never been involved in any illegal activity.

On Monday morning, the Washington Examiner released a column of opinions by Getz depicting something similar to what he characterized as unjustified political persecution of Trump, Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh, and Senator John McCain. ..

“Washington’s scandal cycle is predictable, and sex is especially powerful in politics,” he writes. “First of all, remind you that I am a representative of Congress, not a monk, and certainly not a criminal.

Read more by Anthony Zurcher:

During a controversial appearance at Tucker Carlson’s acclaimed Fox News talk show last week, Getz said a former government official tried to force money from his family in a Justice Department investigation. Claimed to be related to the attempt by.

“On March 16th, my dad received a text message requesting a meeting, where one demanded $ 25 million instead of eliminating the horrific allegations of sexual trafficking against me,” Gates said. Says.

Former Justice Department official David Maggie, nominated by Gates, has denied the claim. (The Washington Post reports that the ministry is conducting another investigation into whether it tried to contact Gates’ father. And providing legal assistance in exchange for assistance in liberating Americans believed to be held in Iran may constitute extortion. )

Gates also told Carlson that his girlfriend, when Fox’s host met, was pressured by the FBI to blame the House of Representatives on a “pay-for-play” approach.

Meanwhile, Luke Ball- Gates’ longtime aide, spokesman, and communications director at his parliamentary office-resigned on Friday..

“Members Matt Gaetz and Luke Ball have agreed that it’s best to break up,” Gaetz’s Chief of Staff told The New York Times. “We thank him for being in our office and hope he will do his best to move forward.”

Before the Times talk about the Justice Department’s investigation breaks down Gates himself reportedly was considering resigning from Congress to take on the job of commentator on the conservative cable network Newsmax...

What does this mean for Trumpworld?

Given that Getz is one of Trump’s loudest advocates, the entire controversy, at least in part, is the latest proxy battle over the legacy of the former president and his continued influence in US politics. It has become.

White House Press Secretary Cary McKenny, Strategic Communications Director Alyssa Farah, Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley, Lee Zeldin, and Matt Gates leave the West Wing

Matt Gaetz was an avid supporter of Donald Trump

In the absence of Mr. Trump, politicians like Gates became heirs. Test whether his conservative rhetoric, enthusiasm for cultural wars, and right-wing populism can be a blueprint for success in long-term elections.

Gates certainly followed Trump’s playbook when defending himself from these allegations-admitting nothing and lobbying his critics and critics with various accusations of shotgun explosions.

In his Washington Examiner work, he reiterates Trump’s phrase, “They aren’t coming for me, they’re coming for you-I’m in the way.” ..

But it’s still unclear if Trump’s defense will work for someone who isn’t named Trump. Already, some Democrats have called for him to be removed from the House Judiciary Committee seats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would agree if the report proved to be true. Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy told reporters that the claim was “serious” and that he would speak to Gates (a meeting that has not yet been confirmed).

At least so far, Mar-a-Lago’s topman has remained silent about Gates’ accusations. If Mr. Trump is now weighted through either a press release like a popular tweet or a media interview, it could strengthen Gates’ defenses or cause a politically fatal blow.

But in the end, federal prosecutors may have the final say in Gates’ future.