Pay attention to the silence. We all saw how the silence of the Republicans spoke loud and clear in their willingness to let Trump’s crime and corruption, sociopathy and depravity, desecration of our constitution and degradation of the truth, define our public life.
No, you don’t need me to detail here the allegations of sex trafficking, misuse of campaign funds and more from Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, described as an unserious person by even former Trump aides. But I am here to urge you to pay attention to the silence.
There may be off-the-record criticisms by Republicans. There may even be House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy acknowledging the “serious allegations.” These are indications of how little-liked Gaetz is within Congress. But this is still a far cry from a tough stand by the GOP; this is not a major political party desiring to repair its reputation or confront the truth.
That’s the deeper problem of a shameless party that has abandoned ethical principles as basic as not committing crimes against minors. (Remember Alabama’s Roy Moore?) Yes, everyone is entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. But we all know it’s possible to publicly, definitively state your abhorrence to crimes such as these to underscore your respect for the law and basic ethical standards.
Instead: Silence. Except from such moral stalwarts as Jim Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene. They’re sticking with Gaetz.
So apparently are the Women for America First members who proceeded with their public event Friday at the private Trump National Doral Miami, giving Gaetz a platform to avoid responsibility and claim it’s all part of the Deep State. “They lie about me because I tell the truth about them, and I’m not gonna stop,” Gaetz said, adding that “they aren’t really coming for me. They’re coming for you. I’m just in the way.”
Women for America First, all good with their boy Matt, a Trump sycophant who learned the GOP way to never take responsibility, always blame others, show not an iota of remorse. Before the Miami event, the House Ethics Committee announced that it had opened an investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Gaetz—surely no reason for these women to pull him from the program.
“I know this,” he told the attendees. “Firebrands don’t retreat, especially when the battle for the soul of our country calls.”
You can be sure that he found plenty of nodding heads in that crowd. Women of America First? That’s the pro-Trump group that was co-founded by former Tea Party activists who created the “Stop the Steal” Facebook group that grew to some 350,000 members before it was removed.
That’s also the group that acquired the Jan. 6 rally permit, spread lies about Biden’s election victory in their 20-city “March for Trump” bus tour, attracted Trump endorsements, and funded many of the people who came to Washington, DC, on the day of the deadly insurrection. Among its sponsors spreading lies? My Pillow CEO and dedicated conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell.
These cultists may not find words to question one of their own like Matt Gaetz. That risks revealing—and acknowledging—the depraved core of their elected leaders. But they are counting on Congressional allies to maintain the Big Lie and keep Trump’s return to power inevitable. And the destroyed GOP, determined to stick with the extremist base, is all too willing to stay silent about the truth of the election and the corruption swirling around them.
So while House Ethics and the Justice Department probe Gaetz—who clearly knew he was in enough criminal jeopardy that he sought a blanket pardon from Trump before his White House exit—let’s not lose sight of the moral abdication of the Republican Party.
We can only hope that Gaetz is just one of a growing list of sociopathic Republicans who chose self-service over service to country—and will pay the consequences. This is not just about crime. This is about the need for responsible governance, holding the guilty accountable, and the future well-being of our democracy.
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