Increasingly isolated and facing serious political and legal consequences of a mounting underage sex scandal, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is trying to turn his burden into a weapon by fundraising off the controversy. In an email to supporters, first reported by Talking Points Memo, Gaetz accused the media of “publishing lies to drag me down” and dragging “my dating life into their political attacks.” A button at the end of the message directs the reader to “click here to fight back against the fake news.” Gaetz, who is under federal investigation for allegedly paying a 17-year old girl for sex, is borrowing a page from his icon Donald Trump’s playbook by fundraising off bad press. But the congressman has largely been abandoned by allies in Donald Trump’s orbit, and his colleagues in Congress, as he defends himself from the damaging allegations.
“The only trafficking the Congressman is aware of is the trafficking in misinformation and lies in what is an increasingly clear attempt to extort a sitting U.S. Congressman,” said a spokesperson for Gaetz. “He is grateful for the amazing show of support from his constituents and friends.”