Matt Gaetz has been screaming from the rooftops ever since the news of his multiple scandals broke last week that he will not, in fact, be resigning from his Congressional seat in the House of Representatives — no matter what.
However, according to a new report from Punchbowl News, it seems as though his fellow House Republicans are gearing up to not give him much of a choice if an indictment for having sex with a 17-year-old girl does come down on Gaetz’s head.
The report claims that Republican leadership in the House intends to react to Gaetz’s potential indictment as soon as word of it was released in an attempt to prevent their Democratic counterparts from calling for the GOP to dump their shamed member.
It goes on to note that the potential immediate dismissal of Gaetz by his fellow Republicans would be somewhat unprecedented, as generally lawmakers are allowed to maintain their positions in Congress while their legal proceedings play out, operating under the assumption that an individual is innocent until proven guilty.
“Indicted members usually give up their committee posts while their criminal proceedings unfold, but they stay in office. Think of former GOP Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Chris Collins (R-N.Y.). Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) stepped down as ranking member on the Foreign Relations Committee when he was indicted for bribery, was acquitted on some charges, and then the rest were dropped and now he’s the panel’s chairman,” the Punchbowl report reads. “In all these cases, party leaders didn’t push for a resignation. The lawmakers continued to vote. Hunter and Collins even won reelection while under indictment.”
However, if Gaetz is ultimately indicted on a sex crime with an underage girl, it seems his GOP colleagues won’t be wasting any time on presumptions of innocence. Apparently, House GOPers are fully prepared to immediately exile Gaetz should he be indicted on such heinous crimes as sex trafficking and statutory rape, and it could put the Republican Congressman at a disadvantage, leaving him unable to defend himself from the power of a Congressional seat.
“If an underage girl is involved, Gaetz won’t get the benefit of the doubt from his colleagues. There’ll be intense pressure on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other top Republicans to call for Gaetz to leave office and fight the charges as a private citizen. That doesn’t mean Gaetz has to go necessarily, but the Republican Conference would want it to happen,” the report states. “This would be a big problem for Gaetz. A member under criminal investigation wants to stay in office as long as possible. It gives them a public forum to fight any charges, and a seat in Congress is a valuable bargaining chip during plea negotiations”
Multiple previous reports have noted that Gaetz is already short on friends willing to come to his defense in his Republican circle and we recently reported that even former President Donald Trump is steering clear of the scandal.
You can read the full report here.