Words are one factor. Actions are one other. And Gaetz’s actions — within the closing days of the Trump administration — recommend a man who was frightened about potential authorized publicity.
“Entry-level political operatives have conflated a pardon call from Representative Gaetz — where he called for President Trump to pardon ‘everyone from (Trump), to his administration, to Joe Exotic’ — with these false and increasingly bizarre, partisan allegations against him,” a Gaetz spokesperson advised the Times. “Those comments have been on the record for some time, and President Trump even retweeted the congressman, who tweeted them out himself.”
Hmmm … so, Gaetz’s official clarification is that as a result of he requested for Trump to pardon numerous folks, somebody (or a number of someones) conflated that broad ask with Gaetz personally asking for a pardon for himself and his allies in Congress? That feels, nicely, implausible?
I suppose that Gaetz might say that he wasn’t mendacity when he advised Carlson that on March 30, as a result of he wasn’t actively searching for a pardon then — as a result of he had reportedly already sought a pardon and been rejected by Trump? Plus, Trump isn’t president anymore so he cannot pardon folks. And President Joe Biden appears, uh, unlikely to pardon Gaetz.
Gaetz additionally famous within the Carlson interview that “they were promising that Joe Biden would pardon me,” which appears to offer extra backup for the concept he had been searching for a pardon for himself.
Look. Even below essentially the most pleasant studying of the reported pardon request by Gaetz, he was searching for to guard himself legally as a result of he feared that his high-profile protection of Trump might make him a goal nicely after Trump left workplace.
Under a barely much less pleasant interpretation of the scenario, Gaetz both knew or suspected he and/or a number of the folks he frolicked with in Florida had drawn the eye of the Justice Department and he needed to preemptively shield himself earlier than he misplaced the possibility to do do when Trump left workplace.
Why may Gaetz search pardons for his congressional allies in addition to himself? Well, there’s quite a bit we nonetheless do not know, however the alleged tactic calls to thoughts one thing acquainted to any mum or dad. It’s simply like while you’re a child and you’ve got a nasty report card that your mum or dad must signal, so that you stick it in between a bunch of innocuous papers and simply have them signal the entire bunch — in hopes they do not pay particular consideration to the report card. (I, pricey reader, would by no means pull such a trick!)
Gaetz could be exonerated by this Justice Department investigation. The DOJ isn’t commenting and our capability to see inside a federal investigation is extraordinarily restricted. So, we merely do not understand how this finally ends up.
But what we do know is that it is not a convincing search for a completely innocent man to hunt a blanket preemptive pardon from an outgoing president — after which say he wasn’t searching for that pardon. None of that makes Gaetz responsible. But it definitely creates extra questions — none of that are good for him.