Former President Donald Trump’s advisers have strongly urged him not to publicly defend Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is currently facing an investigation for sex crimes, the Daily Beast reported Friday.
Trump reportedly spent the past week watching the “Gaetzgate” scandal unfold from afar while consulting various advisers on what he should do with one of his most loyal allies.
According to two people familiar with the matter, Trump believes the allegations against the Florida Republican appear “really bad,” but he also believes they could be “libel,” the Daily Beast reported.
However, Trump’s confidants have firmly said he should keep quiet on the matter, a recommendation the former president seemed to ultimately agree with.
Trump’s office has not issued any official statement on the matter as of Saturday.
Read more: We asked 30 Republicans who know and have worked with Rep. Matt Gaetz if they have reached out to him as his sordid sexual stories skyrocket. Their collective silence was deafening.
Gaetz, a bombastic Trump loyalist, is currently under investigation for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl in 2019 and paying her to travel with him, which could violate federal sex trafficking laws by doing so, The New York Times. reported earlier this week. Gaetz has not been charged in connection with the investigation.
Since the report, several more allegations have emerged.
Among other allegations, Gaetz is accused of using campaign money to fund travel and other women’s expenses, paying women for sex, and participating in a sex game that included a “Harry Potter” challenge and “extra points” for sleeping. in sorority houses. .
Gaetz has claimed that the federal investigation is part of an “organized criminal extortion” scheme against his family. He said the plot involved two former justice department officials, whom he did not name.
“Matt Gaetz has never paid for sex. Matt Gaetz completely refutes all the nasty accusations. Matt Gaetz has never been to any of those websites. Matt Gaetz appreciates the relationships of his past and hopes to marry the love of his life.” . his office said in a statement Thursday, according to the New York Times.
On Friday, the Florida Republican from the state’s first congressional district told Hill that it is “very safe” to say he has no intention of resigning.
Gaetz has been one of Trump’s biggest advocates on Capitol Hill. He recently spoke at the Republican national convention in Florida and was once called a “proud protégé of Trump” by Politico.