DORAL, Fla. – Rep. Matt Gaetz talked to a conservative women’s group on Friday night during a Republicans’ Save America Summit at the Trump National Doral Miami resort in Miami-Dade County’s city of Doral.
During his prepared speech for the summit’s Women For America First event, Gaetz didn’t mention that he is embroiled in an alleged sex scandal. He reiterated that a former U.S. Department of Justice employee attempted to extort him and that he may be a victim of the deep state.
“Big government, big tech, big business, big media, they all breathe a sigh of relief if I were no longer in the Congress fighting for you,” Gaetz said. “I am the only Republican in Congress who doesn’t take any money from federal lobbyists or political action committees. Their money is no good with me.”
The private outdoor event comes as the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into Gaetz, citing reports of sexual and other misconduct. In a statement released by Chairman Rep. Ted Deutsch, a Democrat, and ranking Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski, they list the accusations against him.
“Gaetz may have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or illicit drug use, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, misused state identification records, converted campaign funds to personal use, and/or accepted a bribe, improper gratuity, or impermissible gift, in violation of House Rules, laws, or other standards of conduct,” the statement said
Federal prosecutors are examining whether Gaetz and his political ally Joel Greenberg paid underage girls or offered them gifts in exchange for sex. Greenberg is facing 33 federal charges of wire fraud, creating fake IDs, stalking a political opponent, and sex trafficking
Greenberg, the former tax collector in Seminole County, plans to strike a plea deal. Greenberg’s attorney Fritz Scheller has made it clear his client could be a big help to the FBI.
“I am sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today,” Scheller said.
Gaetz, who has represented Florida’s 1st congressional district since 2017, said he will not resign from Congress. On Friday, in front of a small crowd of supporters of former President Donald Trump, Gaetz vowed to fight.
“I am built for the battle and I am not going anywhere,” Gaetz said. “The smears against me range from distortions of my personal life to wild, and I mean wild conspiracy theories.”
Gaetz’s office announced he has retained attorneys Marc Mukasey and Isabelle Kirshner to lead his legal team.
Watch the video of the event