Nine of Diamonds: U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL): Like Trump, fanboy Matt Gaetz never had a moral compass to lose

 

 

 

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall. 

Shakespeare, Measure for Measure I, Act 2 Scene 1

 

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox RichardsonApril 17, 2024

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/

[Excerpt:]

Earlier this month, both Representative Michael R. Turner (R-OH), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, and Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned about Russian disinformation in their party. Turner told CNN’s State of the Union that it is “absolutely true” that Republican members of Congress are parroting Russian propaganda. “We see directly coming from Russia attempts to mask communications that are anti-Ukraine and pro-Russia messages, some of which we even hear being uttered on the House floor.” When asked which Republicans had fallen to Russian propaganda, McCaul answered that it is “obvious.”

That growing popular awareness has highlighted that House Republicans under House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) have for six months refused to pass a national security supplemental bill with additional aid for Ukraine, as well as for Israel and the Indo-Pacific, and humanitarian aid to Gaza. After the Senate spent two months negotiating border security provisions House Republicans demanded, Republicans killed that bill with the provisions at Trump’s direction, and the Senate then passed a bill without those provisions in February.

Johnson has been coordinating closely with former president Trump, who has made his admiration for Russia and his disregard for Ukraine very clear since his people weakened their support for Ukraine in the 2016 Republican Party platform.Johnson is also under pressure from MAGA Republicans in the House, like Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who oppose funding Ukraine, some of them by making statements that echo Russian propaganda.

While the White House, the Pentagon, and a majority of both chambers of Congress believe that helping Ukraine defend itself is crucial to U.S. security, Johnson has refused to take the Senate measure up, even though the House would pass it if he did. But as Ukraine’s ability to defend itself has begun to weaken, pressure for additional aid has ramped up. At the same time, in the wake of Iran’s attack on Israel last weekend, Republicans have suddenly become eager to provide additional funds to Israel. It began to look as if Johnson might bring up some version of foreign aid.

But discussions of bringing forward Ukraine aid brought not only Greene but also Thomas Massie (R-KY) to threaten yesterday to challenge Johnson’s speakership, and there are too few Republicans in the House to defend him.

Today, Johnson brought forward not the Senate bill, but rather three separate bills to fund Israel, the Indo-Pacific, and Ukraine, with pieces that House Republicans have sought. A fourth bill will include other measures Republicans have demanded. And a fifth will permit an up-or-down vote on most of the measures in the extreme border bill the House passed in 2023. At the time, that measure was intended as a signaling statement because House Republicans knew that the Democratic Senate would keep it from becoming law.

Johnson said he expected to take a final vote on the measures Saturday evening. He will almost certainly need Democratic votes to pass them, and possibly to save his job. Democrats have already demanded the aid to Gaza that was in the Senate bill but is not yet in the House bills.

Reese Gorman, political reporter for The Daily Beast, reported that Johnson explained his change of heart like this: “Look, history judges us for what we do. This is a critical time right now…  I can make a selfish decision and do something that is different but I’m doing here what I believe to be the right thing.… I think providing lethal aid to Ukraine right now is critically important.… I’m willing to take personal risk for that.”

His words likely reflect a changing awareness in Republican Party leadership that the extremism of MAGA Republicans is exceedingly unpopular. Trump’s courtroom appearances—where, among other things, he keeps falling asleep—are unlikely to bolster his support, while his need for money is becoming more and more of a threat both to his image and to his fellow Republicans. Today the Trump campaign asked Republican candidates in downballot races for at least 5% of the money they raise with any fundraising appeal that uses Trump’s name or picture. They went on: “Any split that is higher than 5% will be seen favorably by the RNC and President Trump’s campaign and is routinely reported to the highest levels of leadership within both organizations.”

Nonetheless, Greene greeted Johnson’s bills with amendments requiring members of Congress to “conscript in the Ukrainian military” if they voted for aid to Ukraine.

A headline on the Fox News media website today suggested that a shift away from MAGA is at least being tested. It read: “Marjorie Taylor Greene is an idiot. She is trying to wreck the [Republican Party].” The article pointed out that 61% of registered voters disapprove of the Republican Party while only 36% approve. That approval rating has indeed fallen at least in part because of the performative antics of the extremists, among them the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that made him the first cabinet officer to be impeached in almost 150 years. Today the Senate killed that impeachment without a trial.

As soon as Johnson announced the measures, President Joe Biden threw his weight behind them. In a statement, he said: “I strongly support this package to get critical support to Israel and Ukraine, provide desperately needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, and bolster security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. Israel is facing unprecedented attacks from Iran, and Ukraine is facing continued bombardment from Russia that has intensified dramatically in the last month.

“The House must pass the package this week and the Senate should quickly follow. I will sign this into law immediately to send a message to the world: We stand with our friends, and we won’t let Iran or Russia succeed.”

[Boldface added]

 

Matt Gaetz Is Winning

BY ELAINE GODFREY

April 11, 2024

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2024/04/matt-gaetz-house-republican-congress-profile/

[Excerpts:]

On April 6, 2022, The New York Times reported that Gaetz had requested a blanket pardon from the Trump White House in the final weeks of his administration, which was not granted.

. . . 

During this period [2010 – 2016], a group of young Republican lawmakers partook in what several of my sources referred to as the “Points Game,” which involved earning points for sleeping with women (and which has been previously covered by local outlets). As the journalist Marc Caputo has reported, the scoring systemwent like this: one point for hooking up with a lobbyist, three points for a fellow legislator, six for a married fellow legislator, and so on. Gaetz and his friends all played the game, at least three people confirmed to me, although none could tell me exactly where Gaetz stood on the scoreboard. (Gaetz has denied creating, having knowledge of, or participating in the game.)

. . . 

Three months later, in late March 2021, news broke that the Department of Justice was looking into allegations that Gaetz had paid for sex with women in 2018. One claim held that Gaetz’s friend, the Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg, had recruited women online and had sex with them before referring them to Gaetz, who slept with them too. But the most serious allegation was that Gaetz had had sex with a girl under the age of 18, and had flown her to the Bahamas for a vacation.

. . .

Earlier this week, McCarthy lashed out at Gaetz, telling an interviewer that he’d been ousted from the speakership because “one person, a member of Congress, wanted me to stop an ethics complaint because he slept with a 17-year-old, an ethics complaint that started before I ever became speaker. And that’s illegal, and I’m not gonna get in the middle of it. Now, did he do it or not? I don’t know. But Ethics was looking at it. There’s other people in jail because of it. And he wanted me to influence it.”

. . .

Other sordid claims have spilled out since. “He used to walk around the cloakroom showing people porno of him and his latest girlfriend,” one former Republican lawmaker told me. “He’d show me a video, and I’d say, ‘That’s great, Matt.’ Like, what kind of a reaction do you want?” (The video, according to the former lawmaker, showed the hula-hooping woman.) Cassidy Hutchinson, the former Trump White House aide, wrote in her memoir that Gaetz knocked on her cabin door one night during a Camp David retreat and asked Hutchinson to help escort him back to his cabin. (Gaetz has denied this.)

 

Matt Gaetz’s Effort to Boot Trump-Backed Nemesis Falls Flat

In Tuesday’s election, Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) survived a primary challenge fueled by the Florida congressman.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/matt-gaetzs-effort-to-boot-trump-backed-nemesis-mike-bost-falls-flat

 

How Trump Is Killing Off the ‘Reagan Republican’ in Congress

Ukraine aid is showing how isolationist the new GOP is under Donald Trump.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-trump-is-killing-off-the-reagan-republican-in-congress?

[Excerpt:]

Less than a decade ago, all but a few Republicans in Congress would have taken the title of “Reagan Republican” as a badge of honor.

The 40th president’s “peace through strength” mantra guided decades of GOP philosophy on foreign affairs, with generations of Republicans emulating Ronald Reagan’s vision for modernizing the military and investing in alliances abroad.

But these days, as the GOP remakes itself in the image of Donald Trump, the moniker of “Reagan Republican” is no longer the proud distinction it once was.

It’s more like a MAGA epithet.

For over a year now, Congress has struggled to pass new aid for Ukraine, the war-torn nation dismantling the military of one of the United States’ most hostile enemies. Israel, long considered one of the U.S.’s most important allies, hasn’t received congressionally approved aid in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack either. And Taiwan, staring down surging Chinese aggression, is also waiting on help from Congress.

Not lending a hand to these countries would have once been unthinkable to Reagan’s party. But the growing sect of “America First” Republicans are actively standing in the way. And as that faction stalls aid and U.S. allies suffer, Democrats and the dwindling camp of more hawkish Republicans are watching in disbelief.

“It’s not my father’s Republican Party,” said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL)—the co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus. “My father’s Republican Party was pro-trade, pro-military, and pro-business.”

“You knew where they stood on this,” he continued. “Not the least of which was the foundation, the Reagan Doctrine—that we will forever stand with our allies against Soviet aggression.”

 

Full List of Republicans Backing Matt Gaetz’s Resolution to End Ukraine Aid

By 
https://www.newsweek.com/full-list-republicans-backing-matt-gaetz-resolution-end-ukraine-aid-1780233
Excerpt:
  • Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona
  • Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado
  • Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia
  • Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida
  • Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky
  • Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois
  • Rep. Barry Moore of Alabama
  • Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina
  • Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana

Many of these Republican lawmakers have been publicly against U.S. funding for Ukraine since the invasion began.

Massie, Gosar and Rosendale were the three Republicans who voted against a March 2022 resolution passed in the House supporting the people of Ukraine. Biggs, Gosar, Greene and Massie were also among the House Republicans who voted against investigating Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian war crimes last April.

 

Gaetz returns to his old stomping grounds

By KIMBERLY LEONARD
03/05/2024

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/florida-playbook/2024/03/05/gaetz-returns-to-his-old-stomping-grounds</em>
[Excerpt:]

Democrats have been salivating over the possibility that Gaetz might be the GOP nominee in 2026, potentially creating an opening for a statewide win for them. One of them is Democratic Sen. Jason Pizzo, who is interested in running for governor. “I would like my chances against him,” he said last night.

Gaetz has never faced a difficult congressional race in his deep-red district in the western Florida Panhandle. His father, Don Gaetz, who was president of the Florida Senate, is also running for his old seat this year. Still, the younger Gaetz had a warning for those who get too confident against rivals.“I remember a lot of Democrats in 2016 wishing they could face off against Trump,” he said. “And then they saw how that turned out.”

Matt Gaetz’s Chaos Agenda

The Florida Republican is among the most brazen and controversial figures in Donald Trump’s G.O.P. He’s also among the most influential.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2024/02/26/matt-gaetz-profile#:~:text=The%20Florida%20Republican%20is%20among,also%20among%20the%20most%20influential.&text=Representative%20Matt%20Gaetz%20arrived%20at,amid%20a%20gathering%20national%20crisis.

[Excerpts:]

In December and January, he tried repeatedly to persuade the Trump Administration to grant him an unusual dispensation: a “blanket pardon,” which would cover any number of potential crimes. “He wanted a pardon, as I recall, from the beginning of time up until that day, for anything,” Eric Herschmann, an attorney in the Trump White House, told the January 6th Committee. Gaetz invoked Richard Nixon, whose successor had pardoned him for his involvement in the Watergate scandal. Herschmann found even this ambitious comparison insufficient. “Nixon’s pardon was never nearly that broad,” he said.

 

A year after the Justice Department decided not to bring charges against Representative Matt Gaetz in a sex-trafficking investigation, the House Ethics Committee is moving forward with an inquiry into him.

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/09/us/politics/gaetz-sex-trafficking.html

[Excerpts:]

A lawyer for the chief witness against Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, said on Friday that the witness was cooperating with a House Ethics Committee investigation into whether Mr. Gaetz had sex with an underage girl while he was serving in Congress.

Fritz Scheller, a lawyer for Mr. Gaetz’s former friend and political ally Joel Greenberg, said he provided documents to the committee related to claims Mr. Greenberg has made about Mr. Gaetz. Mr. Greenberg previously told federal investigators that he had witnessed Mr. Gaetz having sex with a 17-year-old girl.

“Mr. Greenberg has and will cooperate with any congressional request,” Mr. Scheller said in an email on Friday.

Mr. Greenberg, who pleaded guilty in May 2021 to charges including sex trafficking, is serving an 11-year prison sentence. He had previously cooperated with a Justice Department investigation into whether Mr. Gaetz had engaged in sex trafficking of a minor, a federal offense that carries a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Mr. Scheller said the documents he handed over to Congress came in response to a request from the House Ethics Committee.

The investigation of Mr. Gaetz has been slow moving as investigators have been sent a range of tips. Mr. Gaetz has claimed that the inquiry is in retaliation against him for taking the lead in ousting Kevin McCarthy as House speaker.

The Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute Mr. Gaetz came two months after Mr. Greenberg was sentenced to prison. Mr. Scheller said at the time that the Justice Department’s decision proved that the country had “two systems” — one that favors politicians like Mr. Gaetz and penalizes those who are less powerful, like Mr. Greenberg.

“Why prosecute the privileged when defendants of limited culpability provide sufficient cannon fodder?” Mr. Scheller said then.

 

Rep. Matt Getz: A moment of reflection and self-assessment?  

“A nation that sends its best to fight in the worst nations in the world should not send its worst to be its representatives in the United States Congress.”

politico.com, Jan. 28. 2021

President Donald Trump‘s biggest congressional supporter from Florida, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, defended the President not only on impeachment but from anyone who thought he was wrong in the first place for claiming election fraud. 

floridapolitics.com, Jan. 13, 2021

 

Rep. Matt Gaetz’s Sister Calls Out Election Fraud Lies Like Ones Spread By Her Bro’: 

Gaetz’s sister, Erin Gaetz, insisted on Twitter that there are “a lot of Republicans” who “live in reality and know Trump lost.” 

huffpost.com,  Jan. 7, 2021

 

Gaetz’s rhetoric turned radical and extreme, calling on Republicans to “stand and fight” Democrats who were allegedly stealing their votes, including the deadly mob that stormed the Capitol to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.​ 

miamiherald.com, Feb. 1, 2021​

Rep. Matt Gaetz baselessly suggests antifa is to blame for pro-Trump mob rioting in the Capitol. 

washingtonpost.com, Jan. 7, 2021.

The FBI says there is no evidence antifa participated in the storming of the Capitol. They have identified members of the right-wing militia Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, white supremacists Proud Boys and Boogaloos, and conspiracy cult QAnon.

The New York Times, Jan. 8, 2021.

Matt Gaetz is not just incompetent, he’s a danger to the military and our national security. 

https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article248923374.html#storylink=cpy, 

Feb. 2, 2021

Instead of doing the serious, complex work of the committee, Gaetz has been busy making social-media memes and working the cable-news circuit, basking in the attention he has received from his controversial, anti-establishment record. His willingness — indeed, eagerness — to use his massive communications platform to sow division and disinformation has also earned him a starring role in two of the ugliest chapters of the Trump era: the unprecedented politicization of the military and the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election.

 

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/prime/where-things-stand-may-21-2021-gaetz-greene-hold-rally-support-sketchy-arizona-audit,  

May 21, 2021.

The scandal-embroiled Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is teaming up with one of his most controversial (and annoying) colleagues, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), to do their dear leader’s bidding in Arizona. The two are holding a rally in Mesa, Arizona tonight “to defend President Donald Trump in the elections audit. The Biden DOJ is trying to stop the Arizona audit. We demand accountability,” Gaetz said in a new radio ad his campaign is running in Arizona. Tonight’s affair will be the second in a series of “America First” rallies the two are holding, seemingly to support former President Trump and keep his fantasies of a stolen election alive and well among his base.

 

The Matt Gaetz-Marjorie Taylor Greene Fundraising Tour Is Actually a Cash Fire

Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene have teamed up and formed a joint fundraising committee. Unfortunately for them, they’re losing money. 

By Roger Sollenberger

Updated Jul. 23, 2021 

 https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-matt-gaetz-marjorie-taylor-greene-fundraising-tour-is-actually-a-cash-fire?ref=author

[Excerpts:]

At the height of the controversy surrounding Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and the revelations that he’s under investigation for sex trafficking, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) bet big on a nationwide joint fundraising tour with her embattled colleague. But new campaign filings show that not only did the gamble not pay off, but that the much-maligned Republicans actually spent four times as much as they raised. 

At the height of the controversy surrounding Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and the revelations that he’s under investigation for sex trafficking, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) bet big on a nationwide joint fundraising tour with her embattled colleague. But new campaign filings show that not only did the gamble not pay off, but that the much-maligned Republicans actually spent four times as much as they raised.

 

Matt Gaetz Failed to Properly Disclose His Abysmal Book Sales

Roger Sollenberger

Aug. 25, 2021

https://www.thedailybeast.com/matt-gaetz-failed-to-properly-disclose-his-abysmal-book-sales?via=newsletter&source=Politics

 [Excerpts:]

[B]eleaguered congressman Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) appears to have committed at least one much smaller but more straightforward federal violation: failure to disclose how much money he made from a book he published last September.

Gaetz’s book, Firebrand, went on presale last August and hit bookshelves and online stores in September, after last year’s financial disclosure deadline. The new amended disclosure claims the beleaguered Florida conservative earned exactly $25,000 from book sales last year. [Boldface added]

 

Rep. Greene introduces bill to award Congress’s highest honor to Kyle Rittenhouse, who fatally shot two men

Greene was one of 21 Republicans who voted against awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to all the police officers who responded to the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6.

By Mariana Alfaro

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/greene-rittenhouse-congressional-gold-medal/2021/11/24/c09980d2-4d49-11ec-a1b9-9f12bd39487a_story.html

[Excerpt:]

Rittenhouse’s acquittal was celebrated by many Republicans in Congress, who rushed to Twitter upon hearing the news to congratulate him and describe his actions as a stand for Second Amendment rights. Some House members, including Reps. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), have said they would hire Rittenhouse as an intern in their congressional offices. [Boldface added]

Greene was among those who reached out to Rittenhouse upon his acquittal, tweeting that the teenager is “one of [the] good ones.”

Asked about Greene’s bill, Joel Valdez, a spokesman for Gaetz, said Wednesday, “We are concerned that awarding Kyle with a Congressional Gold Medal will give him a big head during the internship with our office.”

Matt Gaetz Says He’s Talked With Trump About Making Him Speaker Of The House

[Excerpts:]
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said Tuesday he’s spoken directly with former President Donald Trump about installing Trump as House Speaker if Republicans win control of the chamber in the midterms, reviving an idea he pushed over the summer that was largely dismissed by all but the most extreme-right fringes of the GOP.
Gaetz also vowed Tuesday that hard-right figures like himself, Greene and recently censured Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) are going to push to “take power after this next election. When we do, it’s not going to be the days of Paul Ryan,” Gaetz said. Among today’s GOP, Ryan is widely considered a moderate Republican.

 

CPAC 2022: US conservatives show little interest in Ukraine

Anthony Zurcher
North America reporter
@awzurcheron Twitter

February 28, 2022

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-60559403

[Excerpts:]

Some of the top Republican officeholders in the party, like Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Senator Rick Scott, didn’t mention Ukraine at all in their speeches.

Donald Trump, who took the stage on Saturday night, offered a quick condemnation of the invasion, but spent more time defending his interactions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that led to his first impeachment and his statements earlier this week calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “genius”. He added that Nato nations and current US leadership were dumb.

One of Mr Trump more loyal supporters, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, went further, questioning why the US should be “footing the bill for Ukraine” by imposing sanctions that could damage the American economy.

 

Roger Stone Has Been Playing All Sides of the Gaetz Scandal

One of the most connected players in MAGA world just happened to advocate for pardons for three men tied to the Matt Gaetz sex investigation—and they’re not on the same side.

Roger Sollenberger, Political Reporter

Updated Mar. 14, 2022 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/roger-stone-has-been-playing-all-sides-of-the-matt-gaetz-scandal

{Excerpts:]

Months before the public knew about the federal sex crimes investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz, the man seemingly at the middle of everything in MAGA world—Roger Stone—was already in deep.

How deep? Enough, in classic Roger Stone fashion, to play all sides.

Stone has long been close not only with Gaetz, but also with Joel Greenberg, the congressman’s former best friend and “wingman,” who last year pleaded guilty to sex trafficking the same minor at the center of the Gaetz investigation.

But Stone also has unreported ties to a third Florida man in the saga. And, what’s more, he lobbied for pardons for all three men.

According to the Post, the veteran GOP operative wrote a draft memo to then-President Donald Trump—called the “Stone Plan”—after the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

In the memo, Stone asked Trump to pardon a number of associates, elected officials, and MAGA luminaries, including Gaetz, who Stone said merited a preemptive pardon for trying to overturn the election.

Today, Greenberg sits in federal prison. So does Alford, on fraud charges. Stone is fighting a $2 million federal tax evasion lawsuit while under investigation for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The Gaetz investigation is ongoing.

 

Kevin McCarthy said Matt Gaetz’ post-Capitol riot comments were ‘putting people in jeopardy’

[Excerpt:]

In the immediate aftermath of the January 6 Capitol riot, House GOP leaders were imminently concerned that some hard-line Republicans were putting other lawmakers in danger by making offensive and incendiary comments, according to The New York Times.

In a January 10, 2021 phone call with other Republican leaders, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called out Rep. Matt Gaetz as a key culprit, according to The Times, lambasting the Florida lawmaker for his post-riot television appearances in which he attacked other Republicans who had condemned former President Donald Trump.

 

New details show extent of GOP effort to unwind Trump’s loss

Documents and texts stemming from the House investigation into Jan. 6, 2021, offer new details about the extent House Republicans, particularly members of the Freedom Caucus, were involved in plans to unwind the 2020 election — even as lawyers at the White House warned them their proposals could be illegal.

The content — released in the committee’s court battle against Mark Meadows and in a trove of texts to the former chief of staff obtained by CNN — outlines a lengthy list of Republicans involved in conversations with the White House about planning for the rallies on Jan. 6 and efforts to oppose the certification of votes that day.

Taken together, the messages show how early the White House reached out to lawmakers in its effort to keep former President Trump in office.

They also show a consistent effort by various members to strategize over how to keep Trump in office after his election loss.

That effort ranged from selecting alternate slates of electors from swing states ahead of the Electoral College vote to directing the crowd to the Capitol after the Jan. 6 rallies to discussing the possibility that Trump declare martial law days before he was set to leave office. 

Testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former special assistant to the president and Meadows, relays that Meadows, a former Freedom Caucus chairman, was the one to make “outreach” to members of the conservative caucus, including then-Rep-elects. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

Hutchinson identified those four as being involved in the earliest stages of efforts to unwind the election.

Texts to Meadows as early as three days after Election Day 2020 show lawmakers rallying around the idea of alternate electors.

“I’m sure you have heard of this proposal,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) texted to Meadows on Nov. 6. “Is anybody on the team researching and considering lobbying for that?”

As early as the first or second week of December, the White House’s own counsel was pushing back against the idea.

“Hey, this isn’t legally sound, we have fleshed this out internally, it’s fine that you think this but we’re not going to entertain this in an official White House capacity on behalf of the President, we’re putting a stop to this,” Hutchinson characterized the White House Counsel’s Office as saying.

That message was relayed to at least Perry, Jordan, and Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), according to Hutchinson.

By Dec. 21, a larger group was meeting at the White House with Trump campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani, where the focus had shifted to the ways former Vice President Mike Pence could buck his ceremonial duty to certify the election results.

That group attending that meeting included Jordan, Brooks, Biggs, Gaetz, Greene, Gohmert, Perry, and Reps. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), Hutchinson said.

“They felt that he had the authority to — pardon me if my phrasing isn’t correct on this, but — send votes back to the States or the electors back to the States, more along the lines of the Eastman theory,” Hutchinson said, referring to John Eastman, who crafted two memos for the Trump campaign outlining how to challenge the election.

“I don’t recall anybody speaking out and definitively expressing disagreement with that theory,” she said of the lawmakers, adding that “the vice president’s team appeared slightly skeptical.” 

Later that day, Brooks suggested to Meadows they try to frame the meeting as being both positive and productive after being contacted by reporters.

“Media is contacting my office about this afternoon’s White House meeting regarding formulation of our January 6 strategies,” Brooks wrote to Meadows. “Does the White House want me to reply or be mum? Also, it is one thing to discuss (in general terms) our meeting beforehand. It is another to discuss afterwards.

“If you believe discussion is a positive, I suggest message should be: 1. Progress is being made. 2. More are joining our fight. 3. We can’t allow voter fraud & election theft occur if we are going to be a republic. Your choice. Let me know,” he concluded.

About a week after the meeting, Greene complained to Meadows they didn’t get enough time to chat with Giuliani about the strategy.

“We have to get organized for the 6th. I would like to meet with Rudy Giuliani again. We didn’t get to speak with him long. Also anyone who can help. We are getting a lot of members on board. And we need to lay out the best case for each state,” she texted Meadows on New Year’s Eve.

While lawmakers were coordinating with the legal team through the White House, Perry was involved with Trump’s pressure campaign at the Department of Justice (DOJ), texting Meadows on both Dec. 26 and Dec. 28 to encourage him to make contact with Jeffrey Clark. Trump would later weigh installing Clark, a mid-level DOJ official who primarily worked on environmental issues, as acting attorney general in order to forward investigations into his baseless election fraud claims.

But new testimony released by the committee shows DOJ staff pushed back as Clark tried to get a memo directly to Pence to encourage him to not certify the election results on Jan. 6.

“Mr. Clark suggested that OLC provide a legal opinion to the Vice President with respect to his authority when it comes to opening the votes as the President of the Senate on Jan. 6,” Steven Engel, who served as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel at DOJ under Trump, told the committee.

“And I shot down that idea, but I said — I said: That’s an absurd idea. The — you know, the Vice President is acting as the President of the Senate. It is not the role of the Department of Justice to provide legislative officials with legal advice on the scope of their duties. And — you know, and — not to mention it was 3 days from the date. OLC doesn’t tend to provide the legal opinions, you know, in those cases, you know, in that short timeframe,” he added.

As Jan. 6 neared, lawmakers were once again coordinating with the White House about preparations for the day, including a discussion over whether to actively encourage rallygoers to march to the Capitol.

“I remember Mr. Perry had said that he had been starting to put tweets that night, Congressman Perry, that he was going to start putting out tweets that night, and he was a primary participant in the call,” Hutchinson said.

“I don’t think there’s a participant on the call that had necessarily discouraged the idea,” she added. “I don’t recall every single participant on the call that night, but I do recall it was a Freedom Caucus call.”

Gaetz would also go on to advertise on Jan. 5 during an appearance on Fox News that there could be “tens of thousands of people potentially marching in the streets in Washington, D.C., tomorrow.”

The same two troves show many GOP lawmakers would text Meadows as the chaos was unfolding at the Capitol, with some pleading for the chief of staff to get Trump to take action.

And other prior reporting shows that some Republicans who were initially involved eventually backed away from White House efforts amid their own doubts.

Still, another text from Greene just days before President Biden’s inauguration shows Greene — and evidently other members — were hopeful Trump might still try to resist any effort to swear in a new president and provide lawmakers tools to go after the new president.

 “In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law. I don’t know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him,” she texted Meadows on Jan. 17.

“They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!” she added.

[Boldface added]

 

Matt Gaetz Lashes Out At ‘Over-Educated’ Women Protesting For Abortion Rights

The congressman from Florida and the Republican Party at large are using a familiar tactic to argue against freedom of choice: rampant sexism

MATT GAETZ ACCIDENTALLY REMINDS PEOPLE HE’S A LOSER WHO ALLEGEDLY HAS TO PAY WOMEN FOR SEX

And also that he’s under investigation for sleeping with a 17-year-old.
Bess Levin
May 4, 2022

 

FBI Records Reveal Matt Gaetz Was in Chaos Mode as Scandal Broke

Just minutes before Matt Gaetz went on Tucker Carlson the night it was revealed he was under investigation for sex crimes, he was yelling at the FBI.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/fbi-records-reveal-matt-gaetz-was-in-chaos-mode-as-scandal-broke

 

Sasse claims ‘the right wants a strongman daddy figure’

Sasse was also not shy about taking some swipes at both Democrats and members of his own party.

“Marjorie Taylor Greene and AOC, it’s choose your own dictatorial adventure,” he said, referring to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by her initials.

“Matt Gaetz and Madison Cawthorn, they might as well be from the far left because, like all prophets of doom, they love ranting to the American people that we’re just victims.”

 

The insurrectionists’ clubhouse: Former Trump aides find a home at a little-known MAGA hub

Nearly two dozen alleged members of the Jan. 6 plot are connected to a single Capitol Hill address.

https://www.grid.news/story/politics/2022/07/05/the-insurrectionists-clubhouse-former-trump-aides-find-a-home-at-a-little-known-maga-hub/

[Excerpts:]

The network has broad reach and keeps an eye on future elections: CPI helped found and support the election monitoring nonprofit run by ex-Trump lawyer Cleta Mitchell, along with roughly a dozen other dark money and advocacy groups, virtually all of which share the address of the CPI town house on official reporting. Mitchell did not respond to inquiries from Grid for this story.

Several of the figures of greatest interest to the Jan. 6 committee are now employed by CPI or its subsidiary groups, including:

  • Mark Meadows: Meadows, Trump’s fourth chief of staff, was allegedly a key enabler of Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. He promoted false fraud claims and was a point of contact for election-denying members of Congress, Giuliani and other key operatives. Meadows participated in pivotal meetings and conversations with state and federal officials, according to reports and the Jan. 6 committee. Meadows joined CPI as senior partner just three weeks after Jan. 6.
  • Freedom Caucus

    CPI has forged close ties to the Freedom Caucus, the far-right group of Republican House lawmakers co-founded by Meadows that was deeply involved in the events leading up to Jan. 6, according to reports and sworn testimony.

    In addition to holding meetings and recording podcasts at CPI, the group runs its PAC from its offices, documents show, and some members pay dues to the organization. CPI has spent tens of thousands of dollars taking Freedom Caucus lawmakers and their aides on trips. In February 2021, just weeks after the failed insurrection, CPI flew three dozen Freedom Caucus members to Florida for an unpublicized retreat at Miami’s Biltmore Hotel, according to congressional disclosures.

    According to testimony from Hutchinson, Meadows’ former aide, Freedom Caucus members met with Trump prior to Jan. 6 to press their belief that Vice President Mike Pence could delay the vote certification or send the matter back to individual states.

    “We have to get organized for the 6th. I would like to meet with Rudy Giuliani again. We didn’t get to speak with him long,” Freedom Caucus member Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia texted Meadows on Dec. 31, 2020. “We are getting a lot of members on board. And we need to lay out the best case for each state. I’ll be over at CPI this afternoon.”

    “On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all,” Jordan texted Meadows late on Jan. 5, messages Meadows later handed over to the committee showed.

    Four out of five Freedom Caucus members voted against certifying the 2020 election results. Several Freedom Caucus members sought pardons for their involvement in the election subversion effort, the committee has alleged. Some have denied doing so. At least four Freedom Caucus members have been subpoenaed by the committee.

    • Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania allegedly connected Trump with little-known DOJ lawyer Clark and participated in planning meetings with Trump prior to Jan. 6;
    • Founding Freedom Caucus member and former chair Rep. Jim Jordan was being contacted by Meadows from the White House on Jan. 6, according to testimony;
    • Former caucus chair Rep. Andy Biggs allegedly helped organize the rally that segued into the storming of the Capitol, and pressured Rusty Bowers, the Arizona House speaker, to decertify electors;
    • Rep. Matt Gaetz, a close associate of the Freedom Caucus, but not an official member, has been one of the former president’s most vocal supporters and has spread conspiracy theories about the “feds” being behind the Capitol riot. According to testimony, Gaetz was one of several members of Congress who requested broad pardons from Trump. Gaetz was a speaker at CPI’s 2022 leadership conference and records his podcast at CPI’s studios;  [Boldface added]
    • Jan. 6 committee testimony revealed that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene asked Trump for a pardon, but she denies this. She faced a lawsuit in her home state of Georgia where she was forced to testify on her involvement in the effort to overturn the election. She often said she couldn’t recall key moments and meetings. In its 2021 annual report, CPI listed Greene as a “Hero of 2021,” and she spoke at the organization’s 2022 leadership conference.

    Neither Perry, Jordan, Biggs, Gaetz nor Greene responded to requests for comment for this story.

These organizations employ or assist at least 20 key operatives, reportedly involved in Trump’s failed effort to subvert the 2020 election, including Mitchell, ex-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, and former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark, who was the subject of both a recent Jan. 6 hearing and an FBI raid. And they help raise millions for Trump-aligned members of Congress — more than $38 million over the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, according to the nonprofit OpenSecrets.

“They’re frauds,” said one longtime Republican strategist who has worked for major campaigns and spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person’s job could be at risk for speaking negatively. “They claim to be fiscal conservatives, but they’ve made a living off of generating conservative outrage in order to raise money for themselves.”

CPI and its affiliates are more than just a safe harbor: The network and its employees are a continued source of false vote fraud allegations, and produce and amplify defensive messaging in conservative circles responding to the major revelations of the Jan. 6 hearings.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com

July 30, 2022

This morning, Jon Swaine and Dalton Bennett of the Washington Post reported that on October 11, 2019, at Trump’s National Doral golf resort in South Florida, Danish filmmakers caught an unguarded conversation between Trump allies talking about their legal exposure because of their work for the president. 

Recording a documentary about Trump’s friend and operative, Roger Stone, the filmmakers caught Stone and Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Stone’s lapel microphone talking about Stone’s upcoming trial for lying to Congress and witness tampering during the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. 

Federal prosecutors said that before the 2016 election, Stone repeatedly reached out to WikiLeaks “to obtain information…that would help the Trump campaign and harm the campaign of Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.” Campaign officials “believed that Stone was providing them with nonpublic information about WikiLeaks’ plans. Indeed, [Trump advisor and campaign chief executive Steve] Bannon viewed Stone as the Trump campaign’s access point to WikiLeaks.” Stone lied to Congress five times, interfering with their Russia investigation, and threatened another witness to try to keep him from exposing Stone’s lies.

At the time the new tape was recorded, Stone was complaining that prosecutors were pressuring him to turn on Trump, and on the tape, said he might “have to appeal to the big man.” Gaetz can be heard agreeing that Stone was “f*ck*d,” but Gaetz didn’t think he would “do a day” in prison. Claiming he had heard it directly from Trump, Gaetz said: “The boss still has a very favorable view of you,” and continued, “I don’t think the big guy can let you go down for this.” “I don’t think you’re going to go down at all at the end of the day,” Gaetz told Stone.

Gaetz sits on the House Judiciary Committee and thus had seen portions of the redacted sections of Special Counsel Muller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Although the committee members were prohibited from talking about it except among themselves, Gaetz talked with Stone about it, telling him that he was “not going to have a defense.” 

Stone told Gaetz he had seen the entire report himself thanks to a ruling from Judge Amy Berman Jackson, although when he had asked for such access, she had given him access only to some of it, so it is unclear what he meant. He, too, was not supposed to discuss that material. 

The two men briefly discussed a photograph of the two of them with Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg that Stone said had “come back to bite us in the a**”; months later Greenberg was arrested and pleaded guilty to six charges including sex trafficking a minor. Greenberg is cooperating with authorities. Stone and Gaetz also discussed the outcry over the FBI raid of Stone’s house: media were at the raid, and Stone accused the FBI of tipping them off. Gaetz guessed the tip came from Stone himself. “Innocent until proven guilty,” Stone replied.

As the two men expected, on November 15 a jury found Stone guilty of seven counts of lying to Congress and witness tampering.

And then, when it came time for his sentencing, events played out as Gaetz suggested they would. 

On February 10, prosecutors wrote to Judge Jackson to recommend jail time of 7 to 9 years for Stone, noting that his crime was about the integrity of our government. “Investigations into election interference concern our national security, the integrity of our democratic processes, and the enforcement of our nation’s criminal laws,” they wrote. “These are issues of paramount concern to every citizen of the United States. Obstructing such critical investigations thus strikes at the very heart of our American democracy.” Their recommendation fell within standard department guidelines.

Immediately after the sentencing recommendation, though, Trump tweeted that it was “horrible and unfair” and a “miscarriage of justice.” The Justice Department, operating under Attorney General William Barr, then reversed itself, saying its own prosecutors had failed to be “reasonable.”

In response, all four of the federal prosecutors responsible for Roger Stone’s case withdrew. The administration also abruptly pulled the nomination of the former U.S. attorney who oversaw the Stone prosecution for a top position in the Treasury Department. 

It appeared that the prosecutors were right and the case was actually about the integrity of our democratic processes. It also appeared that Barr had hamstrung the Department of Justice to make sure that no one could touch the president.

Trump tweeted: “Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought. Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted.”

Days before Stone was due to report to prison in July to serve 40 months, Trump commuted his sentence, thus removing his jail time, supervised release, and a $20,000 fine. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called Trump’s move “an act of staggering corruption,” and Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) called it “a real body blow to the rule of law in this country.” 

Then, on December 23, 2020, Trump pardoned Stone, as Gaetz had predicted, rewarding his personal loyalty.

Two weeks later, on January 6, 2021, Stone was back in Washington, D.C. 

Once again, the Danish film crew was filming and, after the events of that day, recorded Stone asking again for a presidential pardon. This time, Gaetz apparently wanted one, too.

When White House counsel Pat Cipollone prevented Trump from issuing those pardons, Stone told a friend that Trump was “a disgrace…. He betrayed everybody.”

 

Eight Sources Say Feds Are Not Done With Matt Gaetz

It’s been a quiet few months in the probe into allegations that the Florida congressman was involved in underage sex trafficking. But few involved think it’s over.

Here are some of the main falsehoods and rumors that have spread on social media in the lead-up to Election Day.

False rumors of voting by dead people and illegal immigrants have long circulated, including after the 2020 election in states such as Arizona, Virginia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia. In all of these states, a small fraction of ballots were cast in the names of dead individuals.

The trope has reared its head again online ahead of the midterms.

 

 

Should Supreme Court justices hang out with extremely partisan figures? 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-its-fine-if-brett-kavanaugh-and-matt-gaetz-hang-out

[Excerpt:]

At a holiday party, for instance?

That’s what The New Abnormal political podcast host Andy Levy and Jay Willis, editor-in-chief of Balls & Strikes, explore in this episode.

“Most recently, some noise was made over Justice Kavanaugh attending a Christmas party thrown by Matt and Mercedes Schlapp, who are big Republican and conservative operatives, and the fact that Matt Gaetz and Steven Miller and people like that were there,” says Andy. “How big a deal is this really?”

According to Willis, it’s complicated.

“Supreme Court justices are the only article three federal judges who are not bound by any code of ethics. [A] normal person, who is not a lawyer, looks at Brett Kavanaugh hanging out with this absolute collection of like right-wing Trumpy freaks and thinks, ‘Well that’s not great, that makes me have some questions about Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s ostensible impartiality,’ [but] legally, he’s just fine,” says Willis.

But! He adds, “The Supreme Court has repeatedly said that although it is, again, not subject to any binding code of ethics, that it doesn’t need to be bound by any code of ethics. And Chief Justice Roberts’ explanation for this is more or less, ‘Well, you can trust us, we’re Supreme Court justices, we know the right thing to do.’ So like to me it’s just sort of table stakes. Like of course at this point, Supreme Court justices should be bound by some sort of code that is like maybe when given the opportunity to hang out with Matt Gaetz, you pick a different Christmas party to go to that night.”

 

Now Italy is their best friend

Joe Perticone

January 17, 2023

https://presspass.thebulwark.com/p/the-republican-infatuation-with-italys

[Excerpts:]

Led by recently elected Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) is descended from Italy’s post–World War II neo-fascist movement, and its policy positions are comparable to those of other groups in the constellation of Europe’s populist far right.

The party’s members are not known for discretion about their views: One member was suspended after reporters uncovered a Facebook post praising Hitler. Meloni herself has insisted that migrant-rescuing boats should be sunk after their crews have been arrested and passengers repatriated.

The Fratelli have typically been backbenchers in Italian politics. Their fortunes changed dramatically last year following a series of events that culminated in the victory of Meloni’s coalition and her election to the prime ministership in the country’s September elections. When Meloni came to power, Republicans in the United States were elated:

  • “I’m so excited,” said Kari Lake, the election-denying failed Arizona candidate for governor, in an appearance on Tucker Carlson. “This is someone I can relate to.”
  • Former Trump confidant Roger Stone listed Meloni on his annual best-dressed list, saying the PM is “not a fascist; she’s a fashionista.”
  • Meloni also earned swift praise from the Senate’s hard right, such as Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz, who quote-tweeted a video of Meloni speaking with a one-word caption: “spectacular.”

“This is a party that’s rooted in the fascist tradition . . . the entire galaxy of the extreme right feels protected and galvanized now,” Italian journalist Paolo Berizzi said of the Brothers of Italy  in an interview with the Intercept. 

Recently, the Logan Circle Group, a consulting firm with ties to Matt Gaetz and other MAGA political candidates, retroactively registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for a range of activities on behalf of Identity and Democracy, a European Parliament group consisting of of several of Europe’s far-right, anti-immigrant political parties, including Salvini’s League.

The Logan Circle Group is run by Harlan Hill, who previously made headlines for being dumped by Fox News after calling Kamala Harris “an insufferable lying bitch.”The French arm of Identity and Democracy Group paid Hill’s firm to establish ties with Republican politicians and make introductions at Matt Schlapp’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

These activities reflect a growing trend in American conservative politics, as a number of U.S. right-wing personalities have conducted paid work for Europe’s far-right governments, including those of Hungary and Russia. These days, the Republican party is open for just this kind of business. So don’t be surprised if more far-right organizations come calling, including those based in Italy, birthplace of fascism.

[Boldface added]

 

REP. MATT GAETZ UNDER FIRE FOR INVITING ACCUSED MURDERER TO RECITE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/02/rep-matt-gaetz-under-fire-for-inviting-accused-murderer-to-recite-pledge-of-allegiance

Florida Representative Matt Gaetz graciously introduced an accused murderer at the House Judiciary Committee’s first hearing of the session, according to The Daily Beast.

“It is my pleasure and distinct honor to introduce to the committee Staff Sergeant Corey Ryan Beekman, an American hero and a constituent of mine residing in Pensacola, Florida,” Matt Gaetz said on February 1’s hearing. However, Gaetz seemed to not know that Beekman was charged with open murder, assault with intent to murder, and two counts of felony firearms in Michigan in 2019.

 

 

As Spending Fights Loom, Freedom Caucus Is at a Crossroads

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

By Annie KarniRobert Draper and Luke Broadwater

July 25, 2023

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/25/us/politics/majorie-taylor-green-freedom-caucus

[Excerpts:]

The expulsion of Ms. Greene, perhaps the most famous hard-right rabble-rouser in Congress, from the group that has long styled itself as the rebellious voice of the extreme right in the House reflects something of an identity crisis within the Freedom Caucus even as a slim G.O.P. majority has given the group more power than ever.

As the Republican Party has moved further to the right, the fringe has become the mainstream, swelling the ranks of the Freedom Caucus but making it difficult for the group to stay aligned on policy and strategy. The rise of another hard-right faction in the House calling itself “the Twenty” — including some members of the caucus and some who have long refused to join — has raised questions in recent months about where the real power lies on the far right.

Still, Ms. Greene in some ways personifies the forces buffeting the group, which was founded in 2015 by a band of rebel conservatives who wanted to push Republican leaders to the right on fiscal and social issues.

These days, the group is larger and harder to organize, in part because its members are, by nature, not rule followers. Some complain that when the group takes an official position, they do so on a messaging app, Telegram, and don’t take votes in person. Mr. Perry has at times vented privately that he has little control over his own caucus. And Republicans aligned with the group have grumbled behind closed doors that the quality of the members has diminished over time.

At the same time, some of the most vocal hard-right voices in the House who have sought to thwart Mr. McCarthy’s rise and his agenda, like Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, have never been members.

Mr. Gaetz, however, has emerged as a charter member of the Twenty, a group of 20 populist members that has in recent months become the more disruptive threat to Mr. McCarthy’s control of the House. The smaller group views itself as a more efficient fighting force. It does not take votes to establish official positions;its members just go out and disrupt, as they did in June when they staged a blockade on the House floor to protest Mr. McCarthy’s debt limit deal with President Biden.

 

[GOP] Lawmakers quickly react to latest Trump indictment

  • In Ohio’s 9th district, where Republicans are again hoping to unseat Democrat MARCY KAPTUR, Gaetz has endorsed J.R. MAJEWSKI — the party’s 2022 nominee who lost his bid for the seat by 13 points following reports that he lied about serving in Afghanistan. McCarthy had recruited and endorsed rival CRAIG RIEDEL, who now faces an uphill battle after leaked audio captured the former state representative calling DONALD TRUMP “arrogant.”
  • In Nevada’s 3rd district, Gaetz is backing state Sen. ELIZABETH HELGELIEN, a conservative whose politics might be a poor fit for the swing Las Vegas-area district now held by Democrat SUSIE LEE. McCarthy had instead backed state Rep. HEIDI KASAMA.
  • And in Illinois’ 12th district, Gaetz has been supportive of DARREN BAILEY, a former state lawmaker and failed 2022 gubernatorial candidate who is seeking to primary GOP Rep. MIKE BOST. McCarthy had headlined fundraisers for Bost and blamed Bailey’s blowout loss to Gov. JB PRITZKER for the GOP’s loss of four Illinois congressional seats last cycle.

Why it matters: The primary fights come as Republicans have sought to avoid ugly interparty faceoffs ahead of the 2024 election. As Madison and Gary note, “candidate quality nearly cost Republicans the House majority in 2022, with some far-right candidates losing key races.” GOP leaders know their slim majority is hanging by a thread — a dynamic that might only worsen if New York manages to redraw its congressional maps and DONALD TRUMP becomes the Republican nominee.

What it says about Gaetz: Gaetz scoffed when our colleagues inquired about whether he was seeking to undercut McCarthy’s chosen candidates out of spite for his longtime rival.

“He’s old news. MIKE JOHNSON’s speaker now,” Gaetz told them.

Maybe so, but his decision to prop up a slew of far-right candidates shows that while the Florida Republican has already claimed McCarthy’s gavel, he’s not done wading into controversy.

Indeed, the high-profile Trump ally — who many believe will run for Florida governor next cycle — is only 41 and signaling that he still plans to play a starring role in the GOP’s ongoing civil war.

Matt Gaetz Privately Told Colleagues His Real Motivation for Kevin McCarthy Ouster Was Ethics Probe

In private communications reviewed by The Daily Beast, Matt Gaetz indicated his vendetta against Kevin McCarthy was rooted in the Ethics Committee investigation against Gaetz.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/matt-gaetz-privately-told-colleagues-his-real-motivation-for-mccarthy-ouster-was-ethics-probe

“Democracy is never a thing done,”

— Archibald Macleash