Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz was caught on a hot mic promising a presidential pardon to Trump-advisor Roger Stone from “the boss”, then-President Donald Trump.
The incident happened several weeks before Stone’s 2019 trial for obstructing a Congressional investigation during AMPFest, a political event at one of Trump’s golf courses. Gaetz and Stone were meeting backstage, when Stone allegedly forgot to turn off a recording device under his lapel while filming scenes for his documentary “A Storm Foretold.”
In the audio obtained by the Washington Post, the Congressman can be heard telling the career political advisor, “The boss still has a very favorable view of you. I don’t think the big guy can let you go down for this.” He added that he heard directly from Trump the Stone wouldn’t “do a day” in prison if convicted.
Stone remarked that Trump would still text him “from time to time.”
The long-time politico also said he would fight the charges, admitting he was still going to “go down hard”, to which Gaetz responded, “Yeah, but I don’t think you’re going to go down at all at the end of the day.”
Stone also told the Congressman that he could have “easily made it go away” by simply selling out Trump, adding that if he had “I couldn’t live with myself.”
In the same recording Gaetz told Stone how Trump had “berated” him during a Christmas party over a rumor Gaetz was going to bow out of his campaign for reelection.
“He had heard a rumor that I was maybe not going to run for reelection, and at the Christmas party, he berated me in front of my date. Like, straight berated me,” he told Stone.
This came shortly after it was revealed that Gaetz was under investigation for paying to fly women across state lines for sexual gratification, with some of them having been underaged at the time. He had reportedly been seeking his own presidential pardon over the case.
Political commentator Benny Johnson, who was involved in the conversation, can be heard complimenting Gaetz, saying being attacked by the President in front of a date was an “Alpha move”.
While the recording may be controversial, filmmaker Christoffer Guldbrandsen told WaPo, “There is nothing illegal about this recording.” He noted that Gaetz stopped short of discussing his exact efforts to lobby the president, referencing a moment when the Congressman said, “Since there are many, many recording devices around right now, I do not feel in a position to speak freely about the work I’ve already done on that subject.”
While Matt Gaetz has been subject to a significant amount of controversy over his partying and sexual habits, he has remained one of the career politicians most loyal to Trump. Do you think Trump is smart for keeping him around for so long or would it benefit him to cut him loose, especially after this?