Donald Trump Likes Kim Jong Un and Kyle Rittenhouse More Than Matt Gaetz
The former president had nicer things to say about Ghislaine Maxwell than he has about the Florida congressman.
Thanks to Matt Gaetz and his sad, creepy sex life, we finally know just how vile a person in Donald Trump’s orbit has to be before even Donald Trump thinks it’s not worth defending them.
Abroad, Trump called Kim Jong Un his friend, defended Vladimir Putin (“There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”), and shrugged off Mohammed bin Salman’s murder of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi (“The world is a very dangerous place!”). Three years after Eddie Gallagher was convicted of posing with the body of an Iraqi he’d just killed and long after the Navy SEAL had been credibly accused by fellow soldiers of a litany of war crimes, he was photographed with Melania and Donald.
At home, Trump stood behind Kyle Rittenhouse after he shot and killed two people at a Black Lives Matter protest. He called the Charlottesville white supremacists “very fine people” after one of them ran his car through counterprotesters and murdered Heather Heyer. He said of the crazed conspiracists of QAnon, “I’ve heard these are people that love our country” and claimed that the Jan. 6 insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol were “hugging and kissing the police and the guards. You know, they had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in and then they walked in and they walked out.” He stood by Bible-waving Senate candidate Roy Moore after women came out and said he’d creeped on them when they were in their teens. By Jason Miller, after his ex, fellow Trump staffer A.J. Delgado, said in court papers that he’d slipped an abortion bill into another woman’s smoothie. By Mike Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty, and Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, whose sentences he commuted after they were found guilty. Hell, he pardoned Republican congressmen Chris Collins, Duncan Hunter, and Steve Stockman as a reward for those crooks’ loyal support.
All of this begs the question of why won’t Trump won’t really defend 38-year-old congressman Matt Gaetz, who’s spent years auditioning for a role as a spare Trump child, even offering to quit Congress to join Trump’s impeachment defense and flying to Wyoming to lead a rally against Liz Cheney after the House’s third-ranking Republican voted to impeach him.
A week into the scandal, and after Gaetz had already tried to drag Tucker Carlson into his mess in a truly bizarre interview that suggested a flailing man aware of the tight corner his own actions had put him in, Trump offered a limp two-sentence statement, denying a New York Times report that Gaetz had asked him for a pardon and saying "it must all be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him."
That’s it. Trump offered a more convincing defense of Kim Jong Un than of Matt Gaetz. He called Paul Manafort, of all people, “a good person.”
The accusations around Gaetz, by the way, involved paying for (or having his friend Joel Greenberg pay for) sex with underage women. That’s apparently part of an investigation that started with Attorney General Bill Barr, the hatchet man Trump finally turned on and who reportedly avoided being in the same room with Gaetz even as the president still had him on speed dial. And Gaetz hasn’t “totally denied” the accusations, but has made a point of saying, while denying he slept with underage women, that he likes to pay for things for women. Gaetz told Jonathan Swan, “I have definitely, in my single days, provided for women I’ve dated. You know, I’ve paid for flights, for hotel rooms. I’ve been, you know, generous as a partner. I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is not.”
The allegations against Gaetz are damning, and so is Gaetz’s voting record in light of those allegations. In 2017, Gaetz was the only member of Congress to vote against a law fighting human trafficking. Something he is now possibly going to be charged with. While in the Florida statehouse Gaetz was one of two people who voted against a law trying to crack down on “revenge porn.”
In his piece in the Washington Examiner Gaetz wrote, “You’ll see more “drip, drip, drip” of leaks into the media from the corrupt Justice Department and others. When you do, ask yourself why. They aren’t coming for me—they are coming for you. I’m just in the way.” This makes it sound like Gaetz doesn’t think all the information about him is out yet. And during his disastrous Tucker Carlson interview Gaetz said there were no pictures of him “with child prostitutes,” something that no one had alleged and that is a strange thing to just bring up, out of nowhere.
The Times is reporting that the federal investigations are to whether Gaetz violated sex trafficking laws. The three sources who talked to the Times said the case was connected to the prosecution of Gaetz ally Joel Greenberg.
So why isn’t Trump or anyone in Trumpworld defending Matt Gaetz? A former campaign aide told Politico that "anyone that has ever spent 10 minutes with the guy would realize he's an unserious person." Wait, what? Trump is a reality television host who paid off a pornographic actress during his 2016 presidential campaign and who suggested injecting bleach might work for curing COVID. Not being a serious person is actually a qualification for being a member of Trumpworld.
Of course, loyalty is a one-way street so far as Trump is concerned, but given how he’s rewarded his worshippers until now, something smells rotten in the state of Palm Beach. It seems impossible that being out of office has somehow affected the way Trump feels about the wealthy connected Florida congressman Matt Gaetz and it seems equally impossible that the weight of the charges has somehow changed Trump’s feelings about Gaetz. You’ll remember that Trump said “I just wish her well, frankly,” of accused child sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell, who is alleged to have hundreds of victims. So it’s odd that Gaetz is the only alleged sex trafficker who Trump doesn’t wish well.
Maybe if Matt Gaetz were a fascist dictator, Donald Trump would be nicer to him?