As Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz continues to try to talk his way out of a federal investigation involving sex trafficking allegations, Trump—notorious for defending creeps of all stripes in addition to getting away with being a huge one himself—has made it clear that he won’t be bailing him out.
According to CNN, Gaetz recently attempted to schedule a meeting with the former president in Mar-a-Lago, but was denied the meeting by Trump’s aides, who warned him against involving himself with Florida congressman. Gaetz reportedly made the request just after news broke that he had become a subject in a larger Department of Justice probe into an alleged sexual relationship he had with a 17-year-old girl.
A spokesperson for Gaetz denies that he sought out a face-to-face with Trump, insisting that he has “been mostly relaxing with his fiancée this week during recess” at Trump Doral, a Trump-owned luxury golf resort in Miami. But other sources say Gaetz’s motivations for being at Doral are somewhat suspect: On Friday, the congressman spoke at a Women for America First event, an appearance that seemed seemed calculated not only to get more (white) women on his side, but also to bump into Trump and his acolytes.
Trump’s aides “were under the impression that Gaetz went down there to try and run into Trump or people around him,” a source involved in Trump’s “post-presidential operation” told CNN.
It wouldn’t have been the first time Gaetz was denied Trump’s support: Despite his pathetic loyalty to the former president, Trump also turned Gaetz down when he asked him for a blanket pardon. (You know, the sort of thing totally relaxed, completely innocent people ask for.)
It was only a few short years ago when Trump endorsed Roy Moore, the former Alabama Senate candidate accused of having relationships with and sexually assaulting several girls in their teens, when he was a man in his 30s. Trump’s unwillingness to come to Gaetz’s defense is obviously no sign of growth on this issue: It is simply the case that, for Trump, there’s no precious Senate seat at stake this time. He can’t be worrying about Gaetz’s future in politics; he has his own future to worry about.
With the rest of the Republican Party staying out of this one, too, it looks like Gaetz is going to have to go it alone.