Meghan McCain is leading calls for Rep. Matt Gaetz to resign after it emerged he is under investigation by the Justice Department for potentially sex trafficking a minor and new claims emerged that he showed lawmakers naked photos of women he said he had slept with.
The daughter of late US senator John McCain took to social media Thursday to demand the Florida lawmaker and staunch Trump ally stand down as she insisted this is not about ‘the cancel culture bulls**t’ but that ‘any man in any place would be fired’ for his alleged behavior.
Rep. Ted Lieu, from California‘s 33rd Congressional District, also demanded Gaetz ‘resign and be prosecuted’ if the allegations are found to be true and urged House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to oust the congressman from his committee appointments while the probe is underway.
Calls are mounting for Gaetz to be removed from office in the wake of the escalating scandal that surfaced this week.
It emerged Tuesday that the 38-year-old congressman was under investigation by the DOJ for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and trafficking the girl across state lines.
Meghan McCain is leading calls for Rep. Matt Gaetz to resign after it emerged he is under investigation by the Justice Department for potentially sex trafficking a minor and new claims have emerged that he showed lawmakers naked photos of women he said he had slept with
The daughter of late US senator John McCain took to social media Thursday to demand the Florida lawmaker and staunch Trump ally stand down as she insisted this is not about ‘the cancel culture bulls**t’ but that ‘any man in any place would be fired’ for his alleged behavior
Gaetz instantly denied the allegations and instead claimed he is the victim of an extortion plot involving a former Justice Department official named David McGee. McGee denied the allegations.
On Wednesday, Gaetz released bombshell text message screenshots, an email and a printout claiming to show he was being extorted by McGee and former Air Force intelligence officer Bob Kent in a ploy to help rescue American hostage Robert Levinson from Iran.
According to the documents, shared with the Washington Examiner, Gaetz had been seen in compromising photos having sex with underage prostitutes, a grand jury had heard testimony from at least one underage girl who says she was paid to have sex with him and Gaetz was about to be indicted on charges.
The alleged extorters claimed they could stop the probe and arrange for Gaetz to receive a presidential pardon if they put up $25million to help secure the release of Levinson – whose family said last year was dead.
In yet another twist Thursday, Gaetz was accused of showing other lawmakers naked photos and videos of women he said he had slept with and boasting about his sexual conquests to his colleagues.
A bombshell CNN report cited multiple sources, including two people who said they had been shown the compromising photos first hand, who said the 38-year-old congressman displayed the images of the women on his phone including while he was on the House floor at the US Capitol.
There is no known link between these alleged images and the sex trafficking probe into Gaetz but the mounting allegations have fueled calls for him to resign.
Just hours before the news of the DOJ probe surfaced, Axios reported that Gaetz was telling friends he planned to retire from politics for a new career on a right-wing news outlet.
It is not clear when Gaetz first learned of the DOJ probe but it was at least March 16 when he claims his family were first contacted by the alleged extorters, raising questions over the timing of his sudden career change plans.
Calls are mounting among public figures, lawmakers and members of the public for Gaetz to stand down from his position as US representative for Florida’s 1st congressional district.
Rep. Ted Lieu, from California’s 33rd Congressional District, also demanded Gaetz ‘resign and be prosecuted’ if the allegations are true and urged House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to oust the congressman from his committee appointments while the probe is underway
Kim Mangone, the former Democratic Nominee for Congress in California who lost to McCarthy, also hit out at Gaetz on Twitter
‘This is vile, abhorrent and beneath the office he holds. No woman in congress should feel comfortable working with him. Resign,’ wrote McCain, alongside a link to the damning CNN report of his alleged behavior on Capitol Hill.
‘(also don’t start with the cancel culture bulls**t, any man in any place would be fired for this garbage.’
Lieu demanded Gaetz ‘resign and be prosecuted’ if found guilty of sex trafficking but said he must be removed from the House Judiciary Committee while the investigation is underway.
The Democrat took aim at McCarthy saying he doesn’t ‘seem to get’ why Gaetz must be stripped of the position due to a conflict of interest.
‘Dear @GOPLeader: You don’t seem to get it. If it’s true Rep Matt Gaetz engaged in sex trafficking, he needs to resign and be prosecuted,’ he tweeted.
‘In the meantime, you can’t have Gaetz sitting on the Congressional Committee that has oversight over the Department that is investigating him.’
Gaetz serves on the House Judiciary Committee – alongside Lieu – which oversees the administration of justice including within federal law enforcement agencies.
But McCarthy said Wednesday Gaetz would only be removed from his committee assignments if he’s found to be guilty of sex trafficking.
‘Those are serious implications. If it comes out to be true, yes, we would remove him if that’s the case,’ McCarthy told Fox News.
Several members of the public also voiced outrage over the allegations about Gaetz and demanded he resign
‘But right now Matt Gaetz says that it’s not true and we don’t have any information. So let’s get all the information.’
Kim Mangone, the former Democratic Nominee for Congress in California who lost to McCarthy, tweeted: ‘Good evening America, retweet if you want Matt Gaetz to resign immediately.’
‘Retweet if you’re ready to support whoever the Democrat is who runs against Matt Gaetz,’ she wrote in another post.
Scott Dworkin of the Democratic Coalition tweeted: ‘Congress must open an investigation in to Matt Garetz immediately. Enough.’
Several members of the public also voiced outrage over the allegations about Gaetz and demanded he resign.
‘In the real world, @mattgaetz would be fired for showing nude pics at work. He needs to resign now. He needs to be told by @GOPLeader to resign,’ one person tweeted.
‘I’m calling on @mattgaetz to resign immediately. Extortion is what my ex did to me. Sexual misconduct is what you did to…lots of people,’ wrote another person.
Another wrote: ‘We all have the right to remain silent Matt Gaetz does not have the ability to remain silent and will be the author of his own destruction.’
Others accused the Republican party of hypocrisy after many GOP lawmakers called for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign after multiple women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment
‘Let’s face it, in any rational society, a Matt Gaetz would resign immediately. But fo course he won’t. So he should be ejected from Congress, as Speaker Pelosi is I’m sure well aware,’ wrote one person.
Others accused the Republican party of hypocrisy after many GOP lawmakers called for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign after multiple women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment.
‘Republicans went on a soapbox demanding Gov. Cuomo resign. I have yet to see or hear one Republican call for Matt Gaetz resignation! Not one!’ one person wrote.
‘Dude allegedly shared pics/videos of women he slept with on the House floor. I mean…’
Another social media user echoed this opinion: ‘And yet, this morning not a single Republican calling on Matt Gaetz to resign over sex trafficking – or calling on Fox News to fire Tucker Carlson, who according to Gaetz was a firsthand witness of the two.’
Gaetz appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tuesday night in a bizarre interview where he first spoke of the alleged extortion plot, naming McGee and appearing to try to rope Carlson into the saga.
The congressman brought up a previous allegation of sexual misconduct against the host then suggested Carlson and his wife had met a woman involved in the allegations.
Carlson said: ‘I don’t remember the women you’re speaking of or the context at all honestly.’
Carlson later said the segment was ‘one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever conducted.’
Another person shared a meme of a man holding his hand to his ear with the comment: ‘Me listening for all the GOP that called on Cuomo to resign, to do the same for Gaetz.’
Long before this week’s saga unfolded, Gaetz had allegedly gained a reputation on Capitol Hill for bragging about his sexual exploits to other lawmakers, according to a CNN report Thursday.
Multiple sources told the outlet Gaetz had showed off photos of nude women he said he had sex with, saying it ‘was a point of pride’ for the congressman.
One source described one video showing a naked woman with a hula hoop.
There is no evidence that the nude photos are in any way connected to the DOJ’s probe into allegations of sex trafficking.
Last year, Florida State Rep. Chris Latvala accused Gaetz of designing a ‘game’ where he and other Florida House members scored points for ‘sleeping with aides, interns, lobbyists, and married legislators’
Gaetz’s main support since news of the DOJ probe broke has so far come from Marjorie Taylor Greene
It is also unclear when these alleged encounters took place. Gaetz is currently engaged to food analyst Ginger Luckey, 26, who he met in early 2020.
But this isn’t the first time Gaetz has been accused of acting inappropriately in Congress.
Last year, Florida State Rep. Chris Latvala accused Gaetz of designing a ‘game’ where he and other Florida House members scored points for ‘sleeping with aides, interns, lobbyists, and married legislators.’
Latvala leveled the accusations against Gaetz amid a Twitter spat in January 2020.
‘And you created a game where members of the FL House got ‘points’ for sleeping with aides, interns, lobbyists, and married legislators. Hope DC is treating you well, Congressman,’ he wrote.
Gaetz denied the allegations.
Rumors of a game with a point system involving ‘young male FL Reps’ first surfaced in a Politico report in 2013 but did not name the alleged culprits.
Florida congressman Gaetz served in the House from 2010 to 2016.
Gaetz with his fiancee food analyst Ginger Luckey, 26, who he met in early 2020 at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club
While these alleged instances have no known connection to the DOJ sex trafficking probe, Gaetz has received little in the way of support from members of his own party since the bombshell claims surfaced.
While McCarthy has not stripped him of his committee position, the House Minority Leader called the allegations ‘serious’ and vowed to ‘find out’ the truth over the allegations.
‘If a member at my conference gets indicted, they will get removed from a committee,’ McCarthy told NBC News.
‘He says this is not true. And we have a newspaper report that says something else. We’ll find out.’
Meanwhile other top Republicans have stayed silent and Trump has also remained uncharacteristically quiet.
This is perhaps surprising given the two men’s closeness. Gaetz backed the former president during both impeachment trials and is a regular fixture at his Mar-a-Lago estate – even proposing to his fiancée there in December.
Several sources told NBC Gaetz is not well-liked on Capitol Hill because of his criticism of fellow Republicans.
Gaetz denied the sex trafficking allegations and instead claimed he is the victim of an extortion plot on Fox News Tuesday night (above)
On Wednesday, Gaetz released text messages, an email and a printout purporting to show he was being extorted by former DOJ official David McGee (left) and former Air Force intelligence officer Bob Kent in a ploy to help rescue American hostage Robert Levinson (right) from Iran
Gaetz railed against GOP Rep. Liz Cheney at the Wyoming capitol back in January after she voted to impeach Trump.
Meanwhile, his constant self-promotion and near-daily appearances on right-wing news outlets, especially Fox, are also another source of contention among other Republicans, sources said.
His main support has so far come from Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon-supporting freshman Georgia lawmaker who was stripped of her committee assignments in February as it emerged she had pushed unfounded conspiracy theories and showed support for executing top Democrats before being elected to Congress.
‘Remember all the conspiracy theories and lies like Trump/Russia collusion and propaganda that the media has spread around. Take it from me rumors and headlines don’t equal truth. I stand with @mattgaetz,’ she tweeted.
In another tweet she called for the release of FBI tapes Gaetz has claimed prove the extortion plot.
‘The DOJ needs to release the tapes instead of allowing another witch hunt to take place,’ she wrote.
But, while few have leaped to his defense, GOP lawmakers have also not spoken out condemning the allegations either.
Gaetz has denied the allegations he had sex with a 17-year-old or paid for her to travel across state lines. He has not been charged.