The Gaetz Gate Scandal


By Eunho Jung

Matt Gaetz, a Congressman serving the 1st District of Florida, may soon see his political career cease to exist. Throughout his time in office, Gaetz has been an avid supporter of the 45th president, Donald J. Trump. He has faced controversy after controversy; however, the most recent one may be the end to them all. 

On May 17th, Joel Greenberg, a former associate of Gaetz, pleaded guilty to six federal charges, including child sex trafficking and wire fraud. Entering a plea deal, Greenberg agreed to cooperate with prosecutors to provide “substantial assistance” in the investigation. Thus, leading to the possible indictment of Matt Gaetz for potential sex trafficking and statutory rape.  

Initiated by the Department of Justice under Donald Trump’s presidency and Attorney General Bill Barr, this investigation has been ongoing for quite some time. Katie Benner, a Justice Department reporter at the New York Times, explained the possible consequences if Gaetz were to be found guilty. “It’s a mandatory 10-year minimum prison sentence. The law is written really broadly because, congressmen – you know, because members of, you know, the Republican and Democratic Party feel that sex trafficking is really terrible. And so this would be a serious crime.”

Gaetz and Greenberg were not quite stealthy in their criminal behavior. In May of 2018, Gaetz made a $900 Venmo payment to Greenberg. The following morning, Greenberg sent three Venmo payments to three women in various sums amounting to $900. The three payments were titled “School” and “Tuition.” Venmo, an app where users can easily send payments to other users, is convenient and easy. However, the two men forgot that transactions are seen by the public unless you change your settings otherwise. 

During a remarkably uncomfortable interview with infamous conservative host Tucker Carlson on Fox News, Gaetz denied such claims of wrongdoing. “It is a horrible allegation, and it is a lie. The New York Times is running a story that I have traveled with a 17-year-old woman, and that is verifiably false.” A 17-year-old woman? That should be the first red flag. As the interview went on, things continued to spiral downwards. Trying to shift blame, Gaetz did not hesitate to bring up Carlson’s dirty laundry. “I’m not the only person on screen right now who has been falsely accused of a terrible sex act. You were accused of something you did not do.” Carlson, in shock, defending himself, “You just referred to a mentally ill viewer who accused me of a sex crime 20 years ago, and of course it was not true. I had never met the person.” After the interview was finished, Carlson explained that it was “one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever conducted.” 

As the investigation continues, Gaetz’s immoral behavior keeps being revealed. CNN reports that Gaetz shared inappropriate, nude images of women on the House floor to other lawmakers. It was also reported that Gaetz ranked women on how much he wished to sleep with them. Quite lewd behavior from an elected official. 

The New York Times also revealed that Gaetz asked former president Donald J. Trump for a blanket pardon. However, Trump denied such claims. “Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon,” Trump said in a statement. “It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him.” If Gaetz is innocent like he says he is, why ask for a pardon?

Others are pointing out Gaetz’s suspicious voting history. In 2017, Donald Trump signed an anti-human trafficking bill into law. It was a bi-partisan effort, which was relatively uncommon during that time. However, the only lone “No” vote was, you guessed it: Matt Gaetz. He defended his vote by stating his values of limited government. But was that the only reason?

One of Matt Gaetz’s former girlfriends, a former Capitol Hill staffer, has also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the ongoing investigation. While her name is not publicly available, it is clear her cooperation could further lead to the downfall of Matt Gaetz.

However, Gaetz is not shying away from the public eye. He has recently gone on a series of America First rallies with Representative Majorie Taylor Greene. Greene doesn’t have the best reputation either. Her comparisons of COVID-19 restrictions to the Holocaust have landed her into some trouble with her party. 

Arnav Garg, a junior of Wayne Hills High School, explained his thoughts on the Matt Gaetz’s situation… for lack of a better word. “Matt Gaetz should not be given a platform in the Republican Party, and regardless of the party it’s only right for someone to be held accountable for their misconduct.”

Sophia Kim, a staff writer of the Patriot Press, held similar opinions. “It’s funny how people in power can contradict their own moral values. I hope the victims will get better. I also hope that the investigation will be honest and will have no funny business going on.”

Well, like a banner that flew over a Floridian courthouse read, Tick Tock Matt Gaetz.