Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, the Florida Republican being investigated by the Justice Department over sex trafficking allegations, made a name for himself when he arrived on Capitol Hill as a conservative firebrand on TV and staunch defender of then-President Donald Trump. Behind the scenes, Gaetz gained a reputation in Congress over his relationships with women and bragging about his sexual escapades to his colleagues, multiple sources told CNN.
Gaetz allegedly showed off to other lawmakers photos and videos of nude women he said he had slept with, the sources told CNN, including while on the House floor. The sources, including two people directly shown the material, said Gaetz displayed the images of women on his phone and talked about having sex with them. One of the videos showed a naked woman with a hula hoop, according to one source.
"It was a point of pride," one of the sources said of Gaetz.
After Rep. Matt Gaetz accused a Florida lawyer of a $25 million extortion scheme to make sex trafficking allegations disappear, Republicans on and off Capitol Hill on Wednesday largely kept their mouths shut.
Gaetz—the Trump-loving, Fox News-grinning, 38-year-old Florida Republican—has a less-than-sterling reputation among his congressional colleagues. More than a half-dozen lawmakers have spoken to these reporters about his love of alcohol and illegal drugs, as well as his proclivity for younger women. It’s well-known among Republican lawmakers that Gaetz was dating a college student—one over the age of consent—in 2018. She came to Washington as an intern.
In response to these allegations and a question about whether he had ever had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old while in Congress, Gaetz told The Daily Beast late Wednesday night:
“The last time I had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old, I was 17. As for the Hill, I know I have many enemies and few friends. My support generally lies outside of Washington, D.C., and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
As for his few friends in Washington, The Daily Beast found that to be true. One former GOP staffer said Wednesday that their office had an informal rule to not allow their member to appear next to Gaetz during TV hits, fearful of the inevitable scandal that would come out one day.
Prior to joining Congress, Gaetz was a member of the Florida House of Representatives when his father was also a member of the Florida Senate. Sources told ABC News the two were often referred to as "Daddy Gaetz and Baby Gaetz." Sources said some women referred to him as "Creepy Gaetz" because they allegedly found themselves made uncomfortable by the junior lawmaker.Sources said Gaetz was part of a group of young male lawmakers who created a "game" to score their female sexual conquests, which granted "points" for various targets such as interns, staffers or other female colleagues in the state House. One of the targets of the scoring system was a group the lawmakers had heard were "virgins," according to a source. The scoring system by male Florida lawmakers was previously reported by the Miami Herald.
One source said Gaetz was often spotted trying to pick up young women at 101 Restaurant, a once-popular watering hole in Tallahassee for some lawmakers and students from nearby Florida State University.