Rep. Matt Gaetz insisted he’s not going away as he faces a federal investigation into whether he violated sex trafficking laws and had a sexual encounter with a minor.
Making his first public appearance in more than a week, the Florida Republican delivered a defiant speech during the Save America Summit at former President Donald Trump’s Doral golf club and resort in Miami. At the event, hosted by the pro-Trump Women for America First group, the 38-year-old Gaetz dismissed the allegations against him as politically motivated attacks.
“I’m built for the battle, and I’m not going anywhere,” Gaetz said. “The smears against me range from distortions of my personal life to wild, and I mean wild, conspiracy theories. I won’t be intimidated by a lying media, and I won’t be extorted by former DOJ officials and the crooks he is working with. The truth will prevail.”
Gaetz is facing mounting controversy as every day brings new reports about the DOJ investigation.
Federal investigators are reportedly looking into whether Gaetz had sex with a 17-year-old and used campaign funds for travel and other expenses for women. Gaetz also reportedly showed sexually explicit photos to colleagues on the House floor and bragged about his sexual endeavors.
Gaetz claimed that his family was targeted by a $25 million extortion scheme, though the people he has named have denied that there was an extortion, accusing the lawmaker of staging a distraction.
The House Ethics Committee announced on Friday that it opened an investigation into Gaetz over the allegations. On Friday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who has distanced himself from firebrand conservatives in his party, became the first Republican to call for Gaetz’s resignation.
During his speech, Gaetz briefly touched on cancel culture, election integrity, and the role of women in society. The congressman also repeated claims that the 2020 election stolen against Trump, whom he thanked for vouching for him after the former president denied a New York Times report this week that said he asked for a pardon.
“This past week has been full of encouragement from President Trump, [Rep.] Marjorie Taylor Greene, and [Rep.] Jim Jordan, [as well as] to the MAGA nation that shares so much love,” he said.
Gaetz, who got engaged at the end of last year, made his relationships with the women in his life a major theme in his speech, praising the influence of his mother on his career and commending his largely female staff on Capitol Hill. All of the female staffers in his office released a statement defending the congressman this week.
“My service in the Congress is more meaningful, more impactful, more noteworthy because I have seen the potential unlocked with so many brilliant, patriotic women that I’ve had the chance to work with,” Gaetz said.
Before his speech, Gaetz walked out to the podium holding the hand of his fiancee, Ginger Luckey, gave her a kiss, and vowed, “I love you with all my heart. And I can assure you, the best is indeed yet to come.” The couple kissed again and were all smiles as they walked out at the end of the roughly 17-minute speech.
Author: Mica Soellner
Source: Washington Examiner: Defiant Matt Gaetz vows ‘truth will prevail’ in fiery speech amid DOJ investigation