On Tuesday, Gaetz got here to the Capitol for the first time for the reason that federal investigation was revealed, partaking in combative exchanges with reporters. Since then, he’s saved a low-profile on Capitol Hill in the remainder of his first week again, avoiding his congressional workplace, attending committee hearings, taking facet entrances onto the House flooring and largely ignoring reporters’ questions.

Gaetz has spent hours on the House flooring throughout lengthy vote collection this week, sitting behind the chamber with a handful of his closest allies within the House Republican convention.

“I talked to him a little bit about Jesus — that’s about it,” stated Rep. Tim Burchett, a Tennessee Republican who has been seen sitting subsequent to Gaetz on the ground for prolonged intervals of time. “I’m a Christian — not a good one — that’s what I try to talk to folks about when they’re hurting.”

Gaetz is going through a federal investigation into whether or not he broke intercourse trafficking legal guidelines and had intercourse with a 17-year-old woman, allegations that would carry extreme penalties. Most Republicans are steering clear of Gaetz and wish nothing to do with the controversial Republican who already was a lightning rod inside his personal convention earlier than the allegations got here to gentle.

But Gaetz does have some shut allies, specifically Republicans who like himself are a number of the strongest defenders of former President Donald Trump. One Republican advised NCS he inspired Gaetz to clear his title amid the swirling allegations.

Women detail drug use, sex and payments after late-night parties with Gaetz and othersWomen detail drug use, sex and payments after late-night parties with Gaetz and others

“He didn’t come to me, I went to him. I went to him to say, you know, ‘I think you just need to make sure, don’t make it a battle, clear your name,'” Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas advised NCS. “I’ve been in this body for a while. It requires a lot of introspective thinking about not just the way you see things, but the way other people see things. And so, I’ve encouraged him to make sure he thinks about the way other people think about things. And he feels very sure that what he has accomplished and stands for will make that test to his advantage.”

Sessions stated that Gaetz made the case that he’s absolutely complying with legislation enforcement on the investigation. “The overwhelming sense I have is, is that he feels like he’s attempting to comply and gave law enforcement, openly, information,” Sessions stated.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, who has additionally been seen sitting subsequent to Gaetz on the ground for lengthy intervals of time all through the week, stated he and Gaetz haven’t mentioned the investigation, however he reiterated that Gaetz advised him he feels he has been treated unfairly.

“I haven’t pressed him on it other than he feels like he’s being treated very unfairly and it sure looks like he is,” the Texas Republican stated.

Gaetz has denied the allegations in opposition to him and has tried to remain within the public eye writing an op-ed the place he referred to as the allegations “smears” and talking at a conservative gathering in Florida earlier than he returned to Washington.

Even earlier than the investigation was revealed earlier this month, Gaetz was a controversial determine throughout the Republican convention, as a lot of his colleagues have been turned off by his antics that usually obtained him on tv, in addition to his hard-charging push in opposition to his colleagues who crossed Trump. But Gaetz’s place within the Republican convention seems safe, for now, as House leaders stated they are not planning on taking any motion in opposition to him until he’s indicted — which beneath House guidelines would mandate his removing from his committee assignments.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stated he spoke this week to Gaetz concerning the investigation, and that Gaetz advised him he was harmless.

Liz Cheney calls Matt Gaetz allegations 'sickening' but stops short of calling for his resignationLiz Cheney calls Matt Gaetz allegations 'sickening' but stops short of calling for his resignation

“Matt Gaetz is, is the same as any American he’s innocent till proven guilty. There’s no charges against him yet if a charge comes forward that would be dealt with at that time,” McCarthy advised reporters.

McCarthy sidestepped questions from NCS about whether or not he was ever warned about Gaetz’s conduct earlier than the brand new allegations got here to gentle. “You’d have to see Matt Gaetz. If you wonder if I knew anything about what that is being alleged now? No,” McCarthy stated

McCarthy additionally denied understanding a few private conversation then-Speaker Paul Ryan’s staff had with Gaetz about professionalism. “I did not know of that conversation. I don’t know what that conversation was even about, just what I read in the paper,” he stated.

Gaetz’s extra average colleagues who’re going through powerful reelection races are taking steps to distance themselves from Gaetz. At least three House Republicans, together with Rep. John Katko of New York, are donating the marketing campaign contributions Gaetz gave them.

“I’m donating it to a local charity,” Katko advised NCS of the $2,000 he obtained.

While on Capitol Hill, Gaetz has prevented his workplace, the place a tv digicam has been positioned outdoors for many of the week. On Wednesday, he briefly attended a House Judiciary Committee assembly to forged a vote. At a House Armed Services Committee listening to Wednesday, Gaetz questioned the commander of US Southern Command, and he appeared on the panel’s listening to just about on Thursday to ask the highest US commander in Europe questions concerning the F-35 and Turkey’s air protection methods.

Gaetz penned one other op-ed Friday within the “Guns & Ammo” journal, defending the 2nd Amendment and attacking the Biden Administration’s makes an attempt to implement gun management measures. The op-ed was revealed — and Gaetz promoted it on Twitter — the day after a mass shooting in Indianapolis and after a flurry of gun violence within the final month.

Gaetz first attacked media and NCS on Tuesday when requested concerning the allegations and the continuing investigation into him. His marketing campaign, which had a $1.8 million fundraising haul within the first three months of the yr, despatched out a number of fundraising pleas in the identical vein. On Wednesday when he was questioned by reporters, nevertheless, Gaetz simply prevented them.

Sessions stated that from his conversations with Gaetz, the Florida Republican believes “there are things that are being said about him that he disagrees with.”

“So, it’s a question of is there something about that or, is it not true? And if it’s not true, he does need stand up for it,” Sessions stated. “If there is something there that he needs to have introspective thinking about, then he needs to think about that too.”

NCS’s Fredreka Schouten contributed to this report.


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