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Tucker Carlson Finally Let Matt Gaetz Back on His Show After a Year-Long Timeout

Tucker Carlson makes his confused face while interviewing Matt Gaetz in split screen on Fox News.

Matt Gaetz appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show Wednesday night to say he feels “vindicated” by the federal investigation into whether he, among other things, had a sexual relationship with and engaged in trafficking an underage girl. That’s a weird thing to say about an investigation that is very much still ongoing, and which has seen convictions for several of his allies and acquaintances—not to mention their promises to cooperate with the investigation into Gaetz as part of their plea deals.

Gaetz hasn’t appeared on Fox News for a year—to the day, in fact—after being put on what The Daily Beast called “an informal blacklist.” The last time Gaetz appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show was March 30, 2021, right after the investigation was first made public. (The investigation first began months earlier, during Trump’s administration, despite Gaetz’s repeated claims that this is all the product of a Democrat-led witch hunt.) Gaetz used his appearance to try to defend himself and it did not go well. At one point, he even seemed to be implicating Carlson in his potential crimes, saying the Fox host had met one of the women involved in the investigation at a dinner a few years ago.

He also, totally unprompted, brought up allegations that had been made against Carlson decades ago, saying “I’m not the only person on screen right now who’s been falsely accused of a terrible sex act.” So no, it’s not surprising that Gaetz was given a year-long timeout from appearing on Carlson’s show or even the network itself.

Gaetz used his first appearance back to boast that “someone has been indicted and has pleaded guilty to trying to shake down my family based on this pile of lies.” This, apparently, is why he feels “vindicated” although, as we’ve discussed since the very beginning, the idea that someone was trying to blackmail Gaetz and his family was never really disputed, nor was it proof of Gaetz’s innocence.

As The Daily Beast puts it: “Gaetz is referring to Florida businessman Stephen Alford pleading guilty to wire fraud in connection with an effort to extort $25 million from Gaetz’s father in exchange for a presidential pardon for Gaetz that the congressman sought.”

This week, Gaetz told Carlson it would be a “travesty” if he were charged with any crimes. “I’m innocent. I have maintained my innocence. I have been entirely consistent on this fact,” he said. “Each and every day, the lies about me unravel and are debunked. … I feel vindicated each and every day that the facts are revealed.”

Gaetz also said that he didn’t want this investigation and his misplaced feelings of vindication to be a “distraction from the critically important work going on in the Congress that my constituents expect me to dig in on.”

I wonder which work specifically he’s referring to. Is it continuing to push weird, unfounded conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden, or maybe it’s coincidentally being the lone vote against anti-human trafficking bills?

(image: screencap)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.