Former President Donald Trump and his allies have largely abandoned Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.), who is currently facing an investigation on child sex trafficking charges after it emerged that the Department of Justice is investigating whether he victimized a 17-year-old girl and taken her across state lines. Though Gaetz, a noted Trump acolyte, has denied the allegations, he has no support from Trump or his inner circle.
“Not a lot of people are surprised,” said one person involved in Trump’s post-presidential operations who spoke to Politico.
“Anyone that has ever spent 10 minutes with the guy would realize he’s an unserious person,” said another source, this one a former Trump campaign aide.
Trump has reportedly followed the advice of his aides and chosen to distance himself from Gaetz altogether. One Trump confidante told Politico that Gaetz isn’t someone who people would rally to defend.
“The reason you haven’t seen people in MAGA world defending Gaetz is less about him being unpopular, which he is in a lot of circles, and more about the fact that he hasn’t done a single thing to make people comfortable to defend him. His interview with Tucker was an absolutely embarrassing train wreck,” they said, referring to a controversial interview Gaetz had with Fox News personality Tucker Carlson.
During his interview with Carlson, Gaetz insisted he is the target of an extortion plot and claimed there was no 17-year-old.
“Providing for flights and hotel rooms for people that you’re dating who are of legal age is not a crime,” he said, adding that he is being targeted because he is ” a well-known, outspoken conservative.”
“That was one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever conducted,” Carlson said at the conclusion. “I don’t think that clarified much, but it certainly showed this is a deeply interesting story, and we’ll be following it. I don’t quite understand it.”