DORAL (CBSMiami/AP) – Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is facing allegations of a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, is set to speak at a “Women for America First” event at Trump National Doral.
According to CNN’s Ryan Nobles, the “Save America Summit” will be Gaetz’s first public appearance since it was reported he was under federal investigation for possible sex crimes.
“Rep Matt Gaetz has been a fearless leader in DC. Few members of Congress have been more willing than Matt to stand up & fight on behalf of President Trump & his America First Agenda,” Women for America First tweeted.
Rep Matt Gaetz has been a fearless leader in DC. Few members of Congress have been more willing than Matt to stand up & fight on behalf of President Trump & his America First Agenda.
— Women for America First (@america1stwomen) April 6, 2021
Gaetz responded, tweeting, “Join me at Trump Doral Friday! Thank you to “Women for America First” for the invitation to share my vision for our great nation.”
In a column Monday in the Washington Examiner, a conservative news outlet, Gaetz predicted that “some of my feckless colleagues in Congress” will call for him to step down.
“No, I am absolutely not resigning,” he wrote.
An aggressive and high-profile ally of Donald Trump, Gaetz has so far received almost no public support from his congressional Republican colleagues and none from the former president.
Gaetz, 38, is under scrutiny over whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, including if he had sex with a 17-year-old and other underage girls, paid them or offered gifts in exchange for sex. That’s according to people familiar with the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they could not discuss details publicly.
Gaetz, who has not been charged with any crimes, denied the accusations Monday.
“First, I have never, ever paid for sex,” he wrote. “And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old.”
Engaged since New Year’s Eve, he wrote, “My lifestyle of yesteryear may be different from how I live now, but it was not and is not illegal.”
Gaetz used his column to attack Democrats, news organizations and others, saying his enemies are “just repeating false allegations about a congressman who loathes the swamp and fights both sides of it on a daily basis.”
He also predicted, “I’m sure some partisan crooks in Merrick Garland’s Justice Department want to pervert the truth and the law to go after me.”
The FBI, the Biden administration’s Justice Department and “the Cheney political dynasty” were among the entities Gaetz accused of unjustly targeting him.
The Justice Department investigation began last year while Trump was still president. Gaetz helped lead an unsuccessful battle in January to depose Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, from her job as No. 3 House GOP leader. Days earlier, she was among just 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump.
Gaetz’s article was published the same day a former congressional aide told reporters he was interviewed last week by the FBI. Nathan Nelson, a military adviser who left Gaetz’s office in October, said he was questioned about whether he’d left that job because he knew of Gaetz’s “involvement in illegal activities.”
“I’m here this morning to state that nothing could be farther from the truth. Neither I nor any other member of Congressman Gaetz’s staff had any knowledge of illegal activities,” Nelson said at his home in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.
Nelson provided no specific details about the FBI’s questioning. Without detailing them, he said he believes the charges against Gaetz are false.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)