MSNBC analyst John Heilemann predicted Friday that Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is politically finished following allegations of sexual misconduct against him, as well as his garnering of media attention with “loud” and “brash” behavior since being elected.
Heilemann attempted to make the case to “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski for the Republican party to toss the “Florida bro” to the side to “give them some kind of credibility.” (RELATED: CNN’s Dana Bash Says She ‘Can’t Repeat’ On TV The Texts She’s Received From Republicans About Matt Gaetz)
Brzezinski began by stating to Heilemann that the story concerning the allegations against Gaetz seemed “to be exploding” and that more kept getting added to it. She said that some reports were saying former House Speaker Paul Ryan reprimanded Gaetz for his behavior and that his conduct on the floor of the House “was in question.” She then asked Heilemann if he thought it was Gaetz’s closeness to former President Donald Trump that was causing so much attention to be focused on this story, or if it was something else.
Heilemann responded by claiming that Gaetz is a “rising star in Congress in the context of the Trump era.” He explained that means he showed up during Trump’s election, was “validated” and “lifted up” by Trump, and he returned the favor with a “symbiotic relationship.”
“He became more than just your average 1 of 435 members of the House. He became a guy with outsized presence in right-wing media, and to some extent in main street media,” Heilemann continued. “He would not really turn down any television interview requests. He made himself ubiquitous. He was very loud. He was very brash. He understood how to play — in the Trump era, when volume, and shamelessness, and garishness were the kind of badges of honor and things that attracted media attention”
He went on to state that “this Florida bro” has been “running around” with someone who was indicted for sex trafficking — referring to Joel Micah Greenberg — and has been “showing his best pictures off his phone” to fellow members of Congress. Heilemann began to call images on Gaetz’s phone his “sexual conquests,” but stopped short saying, “I don’t even want to call them conquests, because if you’re paying for them they’re not conquests, right?”
“So it turns out that the guy is, by every indication, what we’re hearing now, he’s skeevy,” Heilemann added.
“I think regardless of whether charges are brought now, the floodgates are now open, and on a political level, a lot of members of Congress in the Republican Party who, even if they have saddled up to Trump, even if they have accepted Donald Trump, even if they got in bed with the fleas of Donald Trump, they have looked at people like Matt Gaetz and said, ‘man, this is a stinky pile that we’re stuck with here,'” he continued.
He then said that he sees this as an opportunity for Republicans to be “self-interested” and get on their “high horse” by proceeding to “throw Matt Gaetz over the side.” He concluded by saying it would make them feel better and give them some credibility for walking away from someone who is “terminally toxic.”
Gaetz confirmed Tuesday that he is the subject of a federal sex trafficking investigation linked to a $25 million extortion plot that he claims he’s the victim of. He has denied any wrongdoing in the investigation. He has reportedly been known to show nude photos of women to colleagues on the House floor, as well as discuss having sex with them. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday that he would remove Gaetz from the House Judiciary Committee if the allegations against him were found to be true.