On Sunday, CNN reported that Gaetz had sought a meeting with Trump, but been snubbed.
Two people familiar with the matter said Gaetz tried to schedule a visit with Trump after it was first revealed that he was being investigated, but the request was rejected by aides close to the former president, who have urged Trump not to stick his neck out to defend Gaetz.
Gaetz, one of Trump’s most fervent fans, vehemently rejected the idea that the former president had rejected him.
‘This is a total lie. I am on a pre-planned vacation with my fiancée,’ he said.
Gaetz, seen taking a selfie with the former president, was reportedly snubbed by Trump
Gaetz, one of the former president’s biggest fans, fiercely denied being rejected by Trump
‘I was welcomed at Trump Doral days ago. No such meeting was denied nor sought.’
Trump’s spokesman Jason Miller also denied that Gaetz had sought a meeting.
‘No such scheduling or meeting request was ever made, and therefore, it could never have been declined,’ Miller said.
Gaetz, 38, is reportedly under investigation by the Justice Department for his links to accused sex trafficker Joel Greenberg.
Greenberg, a former tax collector in Seminole Country, Florida, is facing 33 counts including stalking, identity theft and sex trafficking. On Thursday his lawyers said the 36-year-old, currently in jail for violating his bail, was cooperating with prosecutors and was readying to take a plea deal – a move described by Greenberg’s team as worrying for Gaetz.
The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that it was opening an investigation into accusations that Gaetz engaged in ‘sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use’, shared lewd images on the House floor and used campaign funds for personal use.
The Florida congressman has notably failed to win the support of even those within his own party as he battles for survival.
Some former White House officials reportedly described Gaetz as ‘meanest person in politics’
CNN’s reporting comes after Maggie Haberman of the New York Times claimed that the former president had to be talked out of giving Gaetz his full backing.
‘His first impulse was that he wanted to defend Gaetz, you know: ‘He’s one of our people,” said Haberman.
‘They have been very close, and it’s been because Gaetz is a presence on television, he’s from Florida, and he’s willing to defend Trump vocally no matter what happens.’
Trump on Wednesday had issued not a full endorsement, but rather a carefully-worded statement saying that Gaetz never sought a pardon from him, personally. The New York Times reported that Gaetz asked the White House for a pre-emptive pardon.
Trump, pictured with Gaetz, had to be talked out of issuing a strongly-supportive statement
‘Several of his advisors had told him that’s a very bad idea, that the nature of what Gaetz is being investigated for is so serious that this is not something that former President Trump should be out there on a limb’ for, Haberman told CNN.
She said that Trump had been ‘staying away from this, and I think it will continue.’
Some within the former president’s orbit even celebrated the controversy, with one former White House staffer telling Insider last month that Gaetz was ‘the meanest person in politics.’
On Thursday night Gaetz was in Miami at his first public engagement since the scandal broke – a ‘BBQ, Boots & Bluegrass’ event at the former president’s Doral golf club and resort.
Defiant Matt Gaetz dismissed the sex trafficking allegations he faces as ‘smears’ and ‘wild conspiracy theories’ at a BBQ event in Miami
Gaetz was joined by fiancée Ginger Luckey, 26, whom he proposed to last December
Gaetz dismissed the sex trafficking allegations he faces as ‘smears’ and ‘wild conspiracy theories’ as he told a raucous crowd of conservative women: ‘I’m built for the battle and I’m not going anywhere.’
He declared: ‘Let me assure you, I have not yet begun to fight – for the country I love and the nation that I know benefits from America first principles. I’m built for the battle and I’m not going anywhere.
‘The smears against me range from distortions of my personal life to wild, and I mean wild, conspiracy theories. I won’t be intimidated by a lying media and I won’t be extorted by a former DOJ official and the crooks he is working with. The truth will prevail.’
Gaetz was joined by fiancée Ginger Luckey, 26, whom he proposed to last December.
She smiled and applauded as he told attendees: ‘Thank you to my amazing fiancée Ginger. I love you with all my heart and I can assure you the best is yet to come.’