I was naive to think that the saga of problematic Republican congressmen ended with Marjorie Taylor Greene or Lauren Bobert. Recently, Flordia Republican House Representative Matt Gaetz has been under fire for sex trafficking. Now, in the old political era, an accusation like this would have most likely destroyed a political career or at least resulted in a censure. Instead, it was chalked up to “cancel culture,” and Matt Gaetz is still a representative. To put it into perspective, Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney was censured for simply disagreeing with Trump. If this doesn’t embody the current state of American politics, I am not sure what does.
About a month ago, the U.S. Justice Department announced that they would be investigating Matt Gaetz for the sex trafficking of 17 year old girl back in 2019. Allegedly, Gaetz paid the 17 year old for sex and to travel with him. More recently, one of Gaetz’s former friends and associates pleaded guilty, and agreed to make a deal with the federal authorities. Joel Greenberg was a longtime friend of Gaetz; Greenberg recently admitted to paying over $70,000 over the span of two years to pay women for sex. At least one of the women was under 18.
Gaetz is being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department along with the House Ethics Committee. The House Ethics Committee is investigating him for numerous things, as they said in a statement back in April. “The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Matt 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,” they stated. Now, the list of things that Gaetz is accused of is rather lengthy, but none of them have caused him to be censured or removed from committees. I am not at all surprised with the lackadaisical reaction from his fellow Republicans, because to most of them, it’s not a big deal.
In typical Republican fashion, Gaetz has denied all allegations and made light of the situation at numerous speaking engagements. However, it is critical that these allegations aren’t swept under the rug. Allowing someone who has been accused of sex trafficking, sexual misconduct, and of sharing nude photos/videos of women to continue to parcitpate in our governement is completley embarassing. Not to mention the fact that this creates a toxic culture for women; it also teaches men that they can get away with anything and still participate in one of the highest forms of government.
We have known for a long time that the Republican party isn’t exactly the epitome of class and doesn’t have the highest standards for their members, but the accusations against Matt Gaetz were a perfect time for them to show us that they still have some morals. Yet again, they allow the worst type of people to represent them, while forcing good people out of leadership positions.