Matt Gaetz, Loyal for Years to Trump, Is Said to Have Sought a Blanket Pardon

Mr. Gaetz has denied having intercourse with a 17-year-old or paying for intercourse. A spokesman denied that he privately requested a pardon in reference to the persevering with Justice Department inquiry.

“Entry-level political operatives have conflated a pardon call from Representative Gaetz — where he called for President Trump to pardon ‘everyone from himself, to his administration, to Joe Exotic’ — with these false and increasingly bizarre, partisan allegations against him,” the spokesman mentioned in a assertion. “Those comments have been on the record for some time, and President Trump even retweeted the congressman, who tweeted them out himself.”

Though Mr. Gaetz had little formal energy within the House, the place he stays a backbencher, he provided Mr. Trump what he craved and what Republican congressional leaders wouldn’t at all times provide: fierce loyalty and a style for bare-knuckle political fight.

In his memoir revealed final fall, “Firebrand: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the MAGA Revolution,” Mr. Gaetz recalled his first one-on-one telephone name with the president in late 2017. Mr. Trump had seen Mr. Gaetz on Fox News attacking Robert S. Mueller III, the particular counsel, and thought he had heard an ally.

“I need warriors, you know what I mean?” the president instructed him.

Mr. Gaetz knew exactly. Though he got here from the extra conservative Florida Panhandle, the younger congressman shared Mr. Trump’s style for boasts, notably about sexual exploits, and a knack for self-promotion. Neither was notably impressed by the trimmings of conventional energy in Washington, and each have been sons of highly effective males. Mr. Gaetz’s father, Don Gaetz, was the president of the Florida Senate and a rich businessman, and Mr. Trump’s father a profitable actual property developer in New York.

After Democrats took again the House in 2018 and started cranking up stress on the Trump administration, Mr. Gaetz emerged as a standout in what he referred to as the “warrior class” of lawmakers who made it their mission to defend the president.

“The president has called me when I was in my car, asleep in the middle of the night on my Longworth Office cot, on the throne, on airplanes, in nightclubs, and even in the throes of passion (yes, I answered),” Mr. Gaetz boasted in his e-book.

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