Is Matt Gaetz resigning over teen sex trafficking allegations? He’s talked with Fox News, Newsmax, OAN for TV gig
Matt Gaetz, the US representative for Florida's 1st congressional district who is being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him, may already have been preparing for a life outside of the office. As per a report in the Daily Beast, for weeks, before news of the investigation broke, the Republican congressman explored the possibility of working in right-wing media, including Newsmax, One America News Network, and Fox News.
As per the report, two sources said that Gaetz indicated to OAN that he was interested in exiting politics for a TV gig. In fact, Gaetz told the outlet on Wednesday, March 31: “Yes. I’ve had many conversations with many people about life after Congress. These conversations have been very general in nature and have never included me soliciting or receiving an offer of employment.” Meanwhile, investigators are examining whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws. A variety of federal statutes make it illegal to induce someone under 18 to travel over state lines to engage in sex in exchange for money or something of value, the New York Times reported.
He further said, “There is not a single conservative television station I haven’t had a passing conversation with about life after Congress. I have neither received nor solicited offers from any of them. But yes, I’ve talked to either executives, producers, or hosts at Newsmax, OAN, Fox, Fox Business, Real America’s Voice, and probably others I’m forgetting at this moment as I focus intently on refuting false accusations against me.”
While a Fox News Media spokesperson said that “No one with any level of authority has had conversations with Matt Gaetz for any of our platforms and we have no interest in hiring him,” two OAN insiders said Gaetz’s interest in the network was apparent when he visited OAN’s San Diego headquarters on February 22. He was appearing for a live interview with Real America host Dan Ball. At the same time, OAN’s founder and CEO Robert Herring said on Wednesday: “Somebody did call me and say that Congressman Gaetz might be looking for a job, possibly at Newsmax.”
But Herring also said, “Right now, I’m not really hiring anybody for talk shows. I think he is a great congressman, and I told [that ‘somebody’] to tell him to stay there. That’s what I want Congressman Gaetz to do.” As per the report, Fox News’s Sean Hannity has offered to let Gaetz guest-host his radio show in the past. In fact, earlier this month, Hannity spoke on-air about a potential show co-hosted by Gaetz and ‘Fox & Friends Weekend’ host Pete Hegseth.
One OAN insider told The Daily Beast that Gaetz “probably” did not have a chance of getting hired by the network after the news of the Justice Department investigation broke. Even several Newsmax insiders said they “Highly doubt it, highly,” if he’d have a TV career now. The official Newsmax statement, however, said: “We don’t comment on talent discussions or future programming plans.”
Gaetz has said that his lawyers had been in touch with the Justice Department and that they were told he was the subject, not the target, of an investigation. “I only know that it has to do with women,” Gaetz said. “I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.”
He also called the investigation part of an elaborate scheme involving “false sex allegations” to extort him and his family for $25 million. The close ally of former President Donald Trump also said that he had no plans to resign his House seat and denied that he had romantic relationships with minors. “It is verifiably false that I have traveled with a 17-year-old woman,” he said.