The Smearing of Matt Gaetz

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September 26, 2022

The New York Times reported last year, according to three sources "briefed on the matter," that the Justice Department was investigating Trump darling Matt Gaetz for sex-trafficking a 17-year-old girl. Big if true. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mused that, if the allegations were true, Gaetz should be removed from the House Judiciary Committee. Late night polemicist Stephen Colbert quipped that the congressman was not allowed within 50 feet of elementary schools. And the Daily Beast last month ran a story headlined: "Eight Sources Say Feds are Not Done with Matt Gaetz."

Turns out, the feds are very much done with Matt Gaetz. Whatever his other blind spots—and there are many—they appear not to involve the sex trafficking of underage women. Per the Washington Post, a conviction of the congressman is unlikely due to "credibility questions with the two central witnesses," so career Justice Department officials are recommending against a prosecution. 

Here is, or was, the thing about our system of justice. Everybody from model citizens to sleazy politicians is supposed to enjoy the due process of law. In Gaetz’s case, that system was circumvented, undermined, and abused by what we can safely assume are politically motivated law enforcement officials who, working in concert with their allies in the mainstream media, succeeded in casting a cloud over the Florida lawmaker with lurid and appalling accusations they could not prove in a court of law. 

Compare Gaetz’s treatment by the Department of Justice with the tight-lipped handling of the ongoing probe into Hunter Biden, which we have to guess has turned up a salacious thing or two that hasn’t made its way to the press. 

And remember the contrast between them the next time President Joe Biden and his friends get on their high horse for the next lecture about the right wing’s inappropriate attacks on the integrity of our law-enforcement officials. They’ve been richly earned.