Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has proven himself to be
a loyal and ardent mouthpiece for the Trump administration.
He’s a regular on the Trumpcentric opinion shows that litter
Fox News, routinely spouting the kind of over the top partisan rhetoric that has
become the norm from the Trump loyalists, at this point in our history.
In fact, some of his rhetoric is so unbecoming of a U.S.
representative, that it borders on lunacy.
Not that the other side of the aisle doesn’t have its own,
special brand of wingnut. We all know they do.
Gaetz, however, may have gone too far when he appeared to publicly
threaten a key witness in the Russia probe earlier this year.
Former personal attorney and “fixer” for Donald Trump,
Michael Cohen, was scheduled to appear before Congress in late February, to
give testimony concerning what he knew about the president’s campaign, as well
as other troublesome aspects of his business life.
For some bizarre, ill-conceived reason, Rep. Gaetz felt a very public tweet, framed in such a way that it appeared to threaten Cohen – even bringing his family into it – was a wise move.
“Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat,” Gaetz wrote in the tweet. “I wonder if she’ll remain faithful to you in prison. She’s about to learn a lot.”
The post was widely interpreted as potential witness tampering and drew a public rebuke from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi was not wrong in interpreting the tweet as such. It’s
kind of hard to think of it as anything other than a threat.
Not just a threat, but a threat against a federal witness.
Does it rise to the level of a crime?
I don’t know, but it’s serious enough that the Florida Bar,
where Gaetz is licensed as an attorney, feel it possibly warrants disciplinary
action. They’ve assigned the case to a grievance committee for further review.
An investigator has been assigned. Depending on what they
find, formal charges could then be filed with the Florida Supreme Court.
“The case is now being investigated by a grievance committee but no other information is available other than the status at this time,” bar spokesperson Francine Walker said in an email.
For his part, Gaetz doesn’t feel he has any reason to worry.
“I’m very confident that The Florida Bar won’t impair my vigorous representation of my district,” Gaetz said in a text.
Maybe they won’t. Then again, maybe there will be a price to
be paid for a U.S. representative acting as the muscle for a mob boss.
We can only hope so. If this behavior becomes the norm, I don’t
think it’s a stretch to say it portends a dark future for our republic.