JUST IN: Trump Addresses Matt Gaetz’s Sex Trafficking Allegations and Reported Pardon Request
In a statement released Wednesday morning from the office of the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump offered insight on the ongoing investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz from his unique perspective.
Gaetz is reportedly under federal investigation for sex trafficking, as well as having sex with a 17-year-old with whom he may have paid for travel, hotel, and other benefits. News broke Tuesday night that in the waning days of the Trump administration, Gaetz requested a blanket pardon for himself. The timing of that reported request came after his associate Joel Greenberg had been jailed for his role in similar alleged crimes.
“Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon,” Trump said in the formal statement that reads like a tweet from his pre-deplatformed time. “It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him.”
NY Times reporter Maggie Haberman appeared on CNN New Day Wednesday morning and explained how Gaetz’s suggestion of a pardon was reportedly floated to White House staff, and so it is very likely that if Gaetz did request a pardon, it was not done directly to then-President Trump. She also noted that Trump’s initial instinct was to defend Gaetz amid these allegations as the Florida Congressman was a very vocal and loyal defender of all things Trump.
This statement appears to be as close to a defense of Gaetz as is reasonably possible, as Haberman added that Trump’s staff as discouraged a more vocal defense amid the very serious allegations.
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