Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida appeared Tuesday on Tucker Carlson Tonight to address a New York Times report that he is being investigated by the Department of Justice for an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old. The investigation, which was reportedly launched during the final months of the Trump administration, is also said to be looking into whether Gaetz paid for interstate travel with the minor, which would violate federal sex-trafficking laws.
Gaetz denies the allegations, claiming it’s all just a plot by a former DOJ official to extort money from Gaetz’s family. The congressman spoke at length about the alleged extortion plot, which he says came about on March 16. But when pushed for answers about the investigation into his alleged relationship with a 17-year-old, Gaetz’s responses were all over the place. On two occasions during the interview, he even tried to pull a clearly uncomfortable Carlson into the conversation.
Speaking about how the Times report is part of a smear campaign, Gaetz suddenly pivoted to accusations leveled against Carlson in the early 2000s.
“I’m not the only person on screen right now who has been falsely accused of a terrible sex act,” Gaetz said. “You were accused of something you did not do, so you know what this feels like.” “You just referred to a mentally ill viewer who accused me of a sex crime 20 years ago,” Carlson replied. “And, of course, it was not true. I never met the person.”
Moments later, as Carlson continued to push for more details about the allegations, Gaetz once again turned the conversation back to the host.
“What is the allegation?” Carlson asked. “That’s not really clear from these news stories.” “Yeah, again, I only know what I have read in the New York Times,” Gaetz responded. “I can say that actually you and I went to dinner about two years ago, your wife was there and I brought a friend of mine. You’ll remember her.”
Gaetz went on to accuse the FBI of threatening the woman in an attempt to get information on him. But Carlson had no memory of the woman, nor was he deterred from his line of questioning.
“I don’t remember the woman you’re speaking of or the context at all, honestly,” Carlson replied. “But I would like to know who — so they’re saying there’s a 17-year-old girl who you had a relationship with, is that true, and who is this girl? What are they talking about in the New York Times?”
Gaetz was adamant that the girl in question does not exist.
The investigation into Gaetz was reportedly initiated sometime in late 2020. But when asked when he was informed of it, Gaetz circled back to the alleged extortion plot.
“I really saw this as a deeply troubling challenge for my family on March 16 when people were talking about a minor, and that there were pictures of me with child prostitutes,” Gaetz said. “That’s obviously false. There will be no such pictures because no such thing happened. But, really, on March 16 was when this got going from the extortion standpoint.”
Coming back from commercial break minutes later, Carlson still seemed perplexed by the interview.
“That was one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever conducted,” Carlson said. “That story just appeared in the news a couple of hours ago. And on the certainty that there’s always more than you read in the newspaper, we immediately called Matt Gaetz and asked him to come on and tell us more which, as you saw, he did. I don’t think that clarified much. But it certainly showed this is a deeply interesting story and we will be following it. Don’t quite understand it, but we will bring you more when we find out.”
Tucker Carlson Tonight airs weeknights at 8 p.m. on Fox News Channel.
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