Sources also told CNN that Gaetz bragged about his sexual escapades on Capitol Hill and showed other lawmakers nude photos and videos of women he said he slept with. (There is no indication these pictures are connected to the Justice Department investigation.)
This scandal has developed at a breakneck speed. But will his career come to an end? And will the GOP take a hit as a result?
Gaetz’s biggest firewall, however, may be the Republican Party itself. The GOP has shown that there is considerable leeway allowed for poorly behaved men who are important to the party. The loyalty and support Republicans showed to former President Donald Trump — from the “Access Hollywood” tapes to the numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct levied against him —- made that clear.
The Gaetz scandal will be another test to see how far Republicans are willing to go to protect their own. Over the past four-and-a-half years, we have repeatedly witnessed how the immense power of partisanship within the GOP overwhelms its moral concerns — despite the party’s widespread support among evangelical Christians. As long as Gaetz is considered valuable to the party — and a major player among Trump supporters — it is a safe bet that the modern GOP will stand by his side until the bitter end.
After Trump, it’s clear the Republican Party seems willing to defend just about anyone in the name of power. Gaetz’s political future rests not on the morality of his actions, but how much power he can bring to the party. If the scandal begins to eclipse his value, it’s at that point the Republican Party will escort Gaetz to the door.