“Washington scandal cycles are predictable, and sex is especially potent in politics. Let me first remind everyone that I am a representative in Congress, not a monk, and certainly not a criminal…
“…Folks won’t be surprised that bizarre claims are being made about me shortly after I decided to take on the most powerful institutions in the Beltway: the establishment; the FBI; the Biden Justice Department; the Cheney political dynasty; even the Justice Department under Trump.”
Now, let’s break it down piece by piece.
The first part of the Gaetz blueprint is to minimize the allegations against him by admitting he hasn’t been perfect. He notes that he hasn’t been a “monk.” Later in the piece he admits that “my lifestyle of yesteryear may be different from how I live now, but it was not and is not illegal.”
The issue here is a legal one: The Justice Department is looking into whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and whether he paid for her to travel with him.
Then there’s the second part of the Gaetz defense: Official Washington is out to get him because he, as a strong ally of former President Donald Trump, is a threat to their cozy sinecures of power.
“Predictably, the anti-Trump cheerleaders such as Meghan McCain, Bill Kristol, and sadly, some of my feckless colleagues in Congress are going to call for me to resign.
“This is how D.C. works. The guilty and wrong point fingers at the innocent and right. Remember President Joe Biden’s Ukraine scandal? Or the Lincoln Project’s professions of moral superiority? Their scorn and moral posturing is all merely projection.”
See, what this is really about, according to Gaetz, isn’t the allegations against him. It’s about the professional political class targeting him because he “decided to take on the most powerful institutions in the Beltway: the establishment; the FBI; the Biden Justice Department; the Cheney political dynasty; even the Justice Department under Trump.”
Wait, so this is all about the fact that Gaetz went to Wyoming to rally support against Rep. Liz Cheney (R) after she voted to impeach Trump? Man, maybe the Cheneys do control everything!
This line of argument is, in a word, dumb. To believe that Gaetz is being targeted unfairly, you have to believe that the Trump Justice Department under Bill Barr, which launched this investigation, is in on it with the current Biden Justice Department — and they somehow coordinated all of this for months.
Which, when you write it all out, seems totally ludicrous. Mostly because it is.
Look: The Justice Department is in the middle of an investigation into whether Gaetz’s alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old broke federal sex trafficking and prostitution laws. That doesn’t make him guilty.
But his attempts to spin this as nothing but above-the-board wild behavior by a single guy that is now being criminalized by a “D.C. swamp” out to get him because of his outspoken beliefs also miss the mark — by a lot.