As someone who loses life force any time he’s not at the center of attention, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) appears to be struggling with the headline-induced infamy his expelled-colleague George Santos (R-NY) is enjoying now that he no longer has to pretend he’s not a total fraud.
In a recent fundraising email to supporters, which was obtained by the Washington Examiner, Gaetz lamented the fact that his Republican colleagues “removed one of our own members,” Santos, and suggested that he’s next: “Some RINOs are looking for their next target… ME.”
“The Swamp dwellers don’t want anything to change, and they are willing to sell America down the river to protect their own interests,” the email said, per the Examiner. “And since I refuse to play ball with these RINOs, they are secretly plotting behind closed doors and looking for ANYTHING they can use to expel me from Congress.”
“All I need to know is that folks like you continue to have my back if the time comes and they try to expel me,” it concludes.
On one hand, it makes a certain kind of sense that Gaetz — a fellow deeply bizarre member of the Republican Party — may want to capitalize on his colleague’s bad moment. But House Republicans only reluctantly moved forward with expulsion after the House Ethics Committee’s bombshell report forced their hand, as the panel accused Santos of trying to “fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”
On the other hand, Gaetz has his own Ethics panel problems, too — and in that light, his effort to remind people of the ways in which he is like George Santos is certainly a choice. In 2021 the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into Gaetz after multiple news reports surfaced troubling allegations against the congressman, including allegations that he was tied to an investigation into alleged sex trafficking. At the time, the panel opened an inquiry into that and other sexual misconduct allegations raised against Gaetz, and into reports of drug use, sharing inappropriate photos and videos with colleagues on the House floor and allegations that he misused campaign funds.
CNN reported earlier this month that the panel’s investigation remains open. And Gaetz, who has denied all allegations of wrongdoing, appears to still be salty about it.
In fact, it has been speculated that that very ethics panel investigation played a role in Gaetz’ decision to throw the entire House into chaos this fall and oust former-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). In the wake of his ousting, McCarthy and his allies maintained that Gaetz’s motion to remove McCarthy as speaker was rooted in retribution because McCarthy had been unwilling to interfere in the House Ethics Committee’s investigation when it was first launched.