Matt Gaetz. Credit: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images
If Matt Gaetz were a character in “Animal House,” he’d be Douglas Niedermeyer, the fascist frat bro who ends up being killed in Vietnam by his own troops.
Everybody hates Matt Gaetz.
They hate him as much as they hate Ted Cruz and y’all, that’s a heaping helping of hate.
As Sen. Lindsey Graham once remarked, “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.”
You could probably murder Matt Gaetz in the House chamber and receive a standing ovation.
Even former speaker Newt Gingrich can’t stand the sneering, squirrel-cheeked member (emphasis on “member”) from northwest Florida who engineered the fall of Speaker Kevin McCarthy and says Gaetz should be expelled from the House.
Newt Gingrich is an expert on jerk behavior: He once called Democrats the “enemies of normal Americans” and piously condemned Bill Clinton for his sexual sins — just before news broke of his own extra-marital affairs.
Not that you should feel even a micro-twinge of sympathy for Kevin McCarthy, a weak little man who would have agreed to trade his soul for the office — if only he had a soul.
McCarthy’s silly impeachment “investigation,” the misshapen carrot he offered Gaetz and his band of middle school nihilists so that maybe they would not shut down the government and evict him from the big fancy chair up front, was never going to appease the deranged right wing of his reactionary caucus.
Never a strategy
Gaetz and the seven other dolts who’ve vandalized the U.S. government simply wanted to make a mess, because, like, it’s awesome to bust up the furniture and pee on the carpet.
There was never a strategy for where to go after they detonated the stink bomb. Gaetz’s only plan was to raise campaign cash off his mega-MAGA move and continue to taunt, insult, and verbally moon Republicans who used to think they were his friends.
Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, who did not vote to fire McCarthy, lashed out at Gaetz for dissing him. “You want to come at me and call me a RINO? You can kiss my ass!
Scores of other Republicans don’t bother to conceal their fervent hope the House Ethics Committee will find that Gaetz is guilty of at least some of the infractions he’s been accused of, including misappropriating campaign money, using drugs, bribery, and displaying videos of nude women he claims to have had sex with so they can boot him out.
But Gaetz, like his much-indicted role model, figures all attention is good attention. The more Trump is accused of criminal behavior, the more popular with Republican goose-steppers he becomes.
Like George Wallace
Matt Gaetz is betting that being a complete schmuck will work for him, too — at least in Florida.
After all, the good white folks in his ultra-Trumpy, church-choked, anti-vaxxer district have kept voting for him. Most love him.
One guy likened him to George Wallace, but that was, believe it or not, meant as a compliment.
I’m sure Gaetz prefers to think of himself as a conservative version of JFK, complete with an assertively toothy smile.
Let’s say the House does its job for once and expels Matt Gaetz: Will he feel shame? Embarrassment? The tiniest twinge of remorse?
When he’s on the stump, campaigning for governor of Florida in 2026, he’ll boast about how the Deep State, the Lesbian lobby, and radical Wokeists conspired against him.
To be fair, Gaetz says he’s not running, but his relationship with the truth has always been somewhat elastic.
Morally vacant, misogynistic, and racist: Judging by Florida’s last two governors, I’d say his resumé would be popular with people who had no trouble electing the guy whose company defrauded Medicare or the guy who thinks public school librarians and teachers “groom” children for some ill-defined future debauchery.
Gaetz has been working on being the most objectionable person in any room since 2010, when he was elected to the Florida Legislature.
He was forced to apologize for suggesting legendary civil rights activist Rep. Arthenia Joyner was uneducated and voted against a Florida revenge porn bill, telling a former state legislator that he figured photos of his exes were his to use as he liked.
Once he got to Congress in 2017, he voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act as well as a federal sex trafficking bill.
As if that wasn’t enough to establish his MAGA bona fides, he invited a Holocaust denier to a State of the Union address (later claiming “I didn’t know much about him”) and asked Donald Trump for a blanket pardon to protect him from the “bloodlust” of his opponents.
If he does decide to run for governor once Ron DeSantis finally leaves office, his main opponent could be, well, Casey DeSantis.
This isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds: In 1966, when Alabama Gov. Wallace found himself term-limited out, his wife Lurleen ran and won, buying him time to change the state constitution to allow him to serve multiple terms.
Thanks to Matt Gaetz
Meanwhile, back in Washington, government has more or less ground to a halt — thanks to Matt Gaetz — until the House chooses a new speaker.
Could it be Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who once described himself as “David Duke without the baggage”?
Gym Jordan, the bellicose former Ohio State University wrestling coach, who keeps denying he knew anything about the rampant sexual abuse of OSU wrestlers?
Perhaps a Florida Man: U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds distinguished himself attempting to defend Donald Trump’s storing classified documents in a Mar-a-Lago bathroom, insisting, “there are 33 bathrooms at Mar-a-Lago, so don’t act like it’s just in some random bathroom that the guests can go into. That’s not true.”
For a little while, Donald Trump, the ultimate Florida Man, seemed to be in the running.
The reliably deranged Marjorie Taylor Greene said he was the only candidate she would back for speaker.
Alas, it is not to be: Trump has now endorsed Gym Jordan.
The United States used to be called “the world’s greatest democracy.” Thanks to Matt Gaetz, Florida’s own bouffant-sporting, sneering little rich boy and his co-conspirators, we don’t even have a functioning government.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.