Well, this is definitely a choice.
Upstart pro-Trump cable outlet Newsmax on Tuesday decided to turn to disgraced political pundit Mark Halperin, whose career imploded after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment and misconduct, to weigh in on the sex scandal currently ensnaring Matt Gaetz.
Halperin, who began working for Newsmax after previous attempts at a mainstream media comeback were scuttled, appeared on Tuesday’s broadcast of John Bachmann Now to discuss the range of political topics, such as Major League Baseball’s decision to pull its All Star Game from Atlanta over Georgia’s new voting law.
At one point in the discussion, however, anchor John Bachmann turned to the Gaetz story, noting that the MAGA congressman recently wrote an op-ed saying he will not resign after it was revealed he’s under federal investigation for, among other things, allegedly sleeping with a 17-year-old girl and paying for her to travel with him.
“He denied sleeping with an underage girl, suggesting that the accusations are coming from political foes,” Bachmann said. “He’s also under this federal accusation for possible sex crimes, including sex trafficking. Very serious charges here. Gaetz not shying away from this. But at the same time, Mark, where are his defenders?”
Halperin, who turned to several prominent friends following his own fall from grace in hopes of staging a media revival, said that Gaetz “violated the rule” of making sure you have “friends in the good times because if the bad times come, people aren’t necessarily going to be there.” (The Florida Republican has seen many political allies and friends distance themselves from him following the allegations.)
“You haven’t heard from Team Trump, and he’s very supportive of Team Trump,” Halperin continued. “I think people view Matt Gaetz as a little bit volatile. I think they view his record as one where they don’t feel comfortable going out on a limb with it.”
The Game Change author, meanwhile, made sure to point out that the allegations against Gaetz are so far “anonymous,” adding that “everybody’s entitled to a presumption of innocence” and that the congressman is “declaring his innocence.”
Halperin continued: “While there are anonymous allegations in The New York Times and elsewhere, let’s see what the facts actually are. Let’s try to take a breath and give him a chance.”
He concluded by stating that you won’t “see a lot of disappointment in Republican circles” if Gaetz resigned, since his seat is safely Republican and Gaetz hasn’t shown himself to be a “steadfast ally” to his fellow conservatives.
“That’s the kind of thing here—we wait for more to come out in this case,” Bachmann responded. “We always presume innocence. We argue for due process all the time. But when you don’t have people defending you—standing in your corner—or a bunch of people, it does make you wonder.”
Interestingly, hours before The New York Times first broke the story about the Gaetz teen-sex allegations, Axios was first to report that the Florida congressman had explored the possibility of leaving Congress for a job at Newsmax.
Gaetz would later confirm to The Daily Beast that he had been in discussions with other right-wing networks, such as One America News and Fox News. A Fox spokesperson, meanwhile, said in response, “No one with any level of authority has had conversations with Matt Gaetz for any of our platforms and we have no interest in hiring him.”