Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fl) speaks during the "Save America Summit" at the Trump National Doral golf resort

Matt Gaetz Is Out Here Making Jokes About His Sex Trafficking Allegations Now

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Over the weekend, Representatives Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene stopped by The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, for their “America First” tour, which is essentially just Trump rallies without Donald Trump. You might remember the Villages from that time Trump retweeted a video of one of his supporters yelling “white power” during a rally there. I’m sure Greene and Gaetz felt right at home.

Greene’s speech was exactly what you’d expect. She criticized Democrats for impeaching Trump over a “perfect phone call,” suggested literally every person who voted for Joe Biden is “antifa or BLM or democratic socialists,” and declared that Donald Trump is the real president.

As for Matt Gaetz, the rally took place on his birthday and he gave himself the gift of making a total ass of himself.

First, he made the incredibly questionable decision to make jokes about partying with women.

“CNN is the worst. Today is my birthday. And I already know how CNN is gonna report it. ‘Matt Gaetz has wild party surrounded by beautiful women in The Villages.’ So just get ready for it!” he told the crowd to wild applause and laughter.

As a reminder, Matt Gaetz is under investigation by the Department of Justice for alleged sex trafficking, including allegations of trafficking and having sex with an underage girl. Those are the kinds of “parties” he’s been reported to have had.

Gaetz spoke about the investigation and the media’s coverage of it and implied that the only reason any of this is happening because he’s a conservative, ignoring the fact that the investigation began while Donald Trump was in office and the DOJ was headed up by the extremely conservative-friendly Bill Barr.

Gaetz claimed he was being denied “due process,” despite the fact that he is not on trial (yet!).

But for the most part, rather than address the content of the investigation—either because he legally can’t comment or because he has no legitimate defense—Gaetz has been focusing on the media coverage. Since the very beginning, he’s been insisting that this is a “smear campaign” on the part of the media.

I’m not sure it’s always the most well-thought-out angle:

Speaking at the Villages, Gaetz praised Project Veritas for “[turning] the cameras” back onto the journalists, referencing a recent series of videos in which a woman catfished CNN technical director Charlie Chester using Tinder and secretly recorded their dates. Project Veritas is known for taking hidden camera footage and heavily and deceptively editing it to manufacture scandals.

Gaetz took one of those videos in which the director—who has no creative control over the network’s editorial content—criticized him for being too conservative and turned it into a six-figure attack ad campaign last month.

It’s not clear how many more stops we can expect from the “America First” tour, but according to The Hill, Gaetz and Greene have also filed paperwork to form a joint fundraising committee called Put America First, “a body that will allow them to accept large checks from donors.” So there’s probably no shortage of CNN attack ads in their future.

(via HuffPost, image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.