Among the flurry of supplicants seeking a pardon at the end of former president Donald Trump’s term, Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) stood out. This was primarily due to the fact that he was the target of an investigation into accusations that he brought a minor across state lines for sexual purposes, leaving him vulnerable to a sex trafficking indictment.
While Gaetz has denied ever directly asking Trump for a pardon as he insists he is innocent of the allegations of illicit teenage lust-fulfillment, The Washington Post is now reporting that Johnny McEntee — the former Director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office in the Trump Administration — has testified to the House Select Committee on the January 6th insurrection that the Florida congressman sought a pre-emptive pardon that would have shielded him from prosecution for exactly the investigation into his lurid activities with an under-aged girl.
According to those who have heard McEntee’s testimony, Gaetz met with the then-White House aide at the tail-end of the Trump administration and told him “that they are launching an investigation into him or that there’s an investigation into him,” never quite mentioning who was doing the investigating.
“McEntee added that Gaetz told him ‘he did not do anything wrong but they are trying to make his life hell, and you know, if the president could give him a pardon, that would be great.’ Gaetz told McEntee that he had asked White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows for a pardon,” The Washington Post reported.
“Asked by investigators if Gaetz’s ask for a pardon was in the context of the Justice Department investigation into whether Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws, McEntee replied, ‘I think that was the context, yes,’ according to people familiar with the testimony who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters,” the article reveals.
McEntee’s assertion is the first confirmation that Gaetz was specifically seeking a pardon for the potential consequences of the sex-trafficking probe that he was undergoing, rather than the broad, general pardons for the results of any politically-motivated investigations that he claimed to be advocating for at the time.
The Post‘s sources say that McEntee was unable to recall if his conversation with Gaetz took place before or after the January 6th riots.
Gaetz and his PR flacks declined to comment on The Washington Post’s reporting, instead reiterating their stance that Gaetz never personally asked Trump for a pardon as if using Trump’s then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows as an intermediary absolves him of responsibility.
“’Congressman Matt Gaetz discussed pardons for many other people publicly and privately at the end of President Donald Trump’s first term,’ the spokesperson wrote in an email. ‘As for himself, President Trump addressed this malicious rumor more than a year ago stating, “Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon.” Rep. Gaetz continues to stand by President Trump’s statement,’” The Post reported.
At this point, the issue of a pardon from Trump is moot, since the disgraced former president never gave Gaetz the pardon that he was seeking.
Unfortunately, the Justice Department has so far failed to come through with the expected indictment of the libidinous Florida cradle-snatcher, eliminating the necessity of the rejected pardon request.
With the investigation into Gaetz’s alleged transgressions still officially open, there’s still hope that an indictment may be on the way, but as each day passes the hope among Democrats that this reactionary right-wing blowhard will be expelled from Congress grows dimmer and dimmer.