The Phoenix Flyer

Matt Gaetz to Charlie Crist: Stop impeachment ‘madness’

By: - October 4, 2019 4:21 pm

Matt Gaetz in Fox News appearance

Panhandle Congressman Matt Gaetz wants Florida Democrats to drop their impeachment inquiry against President Trump – and plans to appear at one particular lawmaker’s home district next week to tell him so.

Gaetz, one of the president’s most vociferous backers on cable news, will appear at a press conference on Monday in front of St. Petersburg Democrat Charlie Crist’s district office, the Republican National Committee announced on Friday in a press release.

The “Stop the Madness!” event is being called a “counter-impeachment” campaign event by the RNC – part of an effort to hold swing-district Democrats like Crist accountable for “their extreme actions and politically motivated behavior.”

Like most of Florida’s 13-member Democratic congressional delegation, Crist resisted calls for impeachment of the president for most of the year. That changed last week following reports that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine while pressuring the nation’s leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s potential political opponent in next year’s general election.

“Today, I join the people of Florida’s 13th Congressional District in calling for the House to launch formal impeachment proceedings against President Trump,” Crist announced in a written statement 10 days ago.

“I do not reach this conclusion lightly. The urgency of accountability is laid bare by the president’s ongoing willingness to abuse the immense power of the office of the United States President. Someone who believes there is nothing wrong with soliciting foreign interference in American elections – again – can cause unthinkable harm to our national security, our country, and our Constitution during the remaining 15 months of his term in office,” Crist continued.

“I saw the Russian movie…I don’t think I’m going to like the Ukrainian knockoff, and neither will the American people,” Gaetz tweeted on Thursday.

Gaetz has said in interviews that he thinks impeachment ultimately will backfire on the Democrats and aid the president in his bid for re-election next year.

Until the revelations surfaced late last month regarding the president pressuring Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter, only three congressional Democrats from Florida – Val Demings, Ted Deutch, and Debbie Murcasel-Powell – supported impeachment.

But the floodgates opened after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she wanted to begin an impeachment inquiry, and the 10 remaining Democrats within the Florida delegation are now listed as supporting that inquiry.

The Florida Phoenix asked an RNC spokesperson why the GOP and Gaetz are specifically targeting Crist out of the 13 Florida Democrats who now all support an impeachment inquiry. They offered no immediate response.

Crist was lifelong Republican who left the party to run as an independent against Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate in 2010. Two years later, Crist converted to the Democratic Party. He won a seat in Florida’s 13th Congressional District in 2016 and was re-elected in 2018.



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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.