Politics Five of the oddest moments from Carlson-Gaetz interview
What Matt Gaetz Said to Tucker Carlson in 'Weirdest Interview'
Fox News host Tucker Carlson has described his on-air conversation with Matt Gaetz as the "weirdest interview I've ever conducted."Gaetz is facing allegations that include a possible sexual relationship with a 17-year-old, paying the individual to travel with him and transporting a minor over state lines for sexual activity, The New York Times reported citing anonymous sources on Tuesday.
Gaetz appeared on the conservative Fox News host's show just after news broke that he is under investigation over an
Gaetz says the entire controversy was an extortion attempt made against him by a former Department of Justice official.
Here are the five of the oddest moments from the interview.
Gaetz wants the tapes
Rep. Matt Gaetz under investigation for sexual relations with teenager — he claims extortion
Trump-friendly Florida congressman, long the focus of rumors, under DOJ investigation but says he's being extorted Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) Samuel Corum/Getty Images
In the interview Gaetz detailed how his father was texted by someone asking for "$25 million in exchange for making horrible sex trafficking allegations against me go away" and how the FBI asked his dad to wear a wire.
Then as Carlson looked intently into the camera, Gaetz dramatically called on the FBI to share the resulting tapes.
"Tonight. I am demanding that the Department of Justice and the FBI release the audio recordings that were made under their supervision and at their direction, which will prove my innocence," Gaetz said.
Gaetz says NYT story ruined a sting operation
Before Carlson could ask a follow-up question about the tapes, Gaetz says the release of The New York Times story was purposely timed to ruin an imminent sting operation and provide cover for the extortionist.
What you need to know about the Matt Gaetz scandal
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., has said a Justice Department inquiry into him for an alleged relationship with a 17-year-old girl is part of an extortion attempt against his family. The New York Times reported Tuesday that Gaetz, 38, was under investigation for possibly paying for a 17-year-old to cross state lines and then have sex with him about two years ago. Gaetz could be charged under the Mann Act, which prohibits bringing anyone across state lines "with intent that such individual engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.
"And this former Department of Justice official tomorrow, was supposed to be contacted by my father so that specific instructions could be given regarding the wiring of $4.5 million as a down payment on this bribe," Gaetz said. "I don't think it's a coincidence that tonight, somehow The New York Times is leaking this information smearing me and ruining the investigation that would likely result in, uh, one of the former colleagues of the current DOJ being brought to justice."
Later in the interview, Gaetz references a slightly different time for the sting, mentioning, "money that was supposed to be paid today."
Gaetz was promised a presidential pardon
A look of confused surprise appears to come over Carlson's face as Gaetz answered Carlson's more detailed questions about the plot.
After explaining, in response to Carlson' questioning, that a "demand for money" was a central part of the scheme, Gaetz theorized that political animus was also a motivation, adding that the extortionist offered a presidential pardon in exchange for making the investigation disappear.
Republicans Have Been Waiting for a Matt Gaetz Scandal to Break
After Rep. Matt Gaetz accused a Florida lawyer of a $25 million extortion scheme to make sex trafficking allegations disappear, Republicans on and off Capitol Hill on Wednesday largely kept their mouths shut. Gaetz—the Trump-loving, Fox News-grinning, 38-year-old Florida Republican—has a less-than-sterling reputation among his congressional colleagues. More than a half-dozen lawmakers have spoken to these reporters about his love of alcohol and illegal drugs, as well as his proclivity for younger women. It’s well-known among Republican lawmakers that Gaetz was dating a college student—one over the age of consent—in 2018. She came to Washington as an intern.
"They were promising that Joe Biden would pardon me. Obviously I don't need a pardon. I'm not seeking a pardon" Gaetz said.
"I've not done anything improper or wrong, but what I am troubled by is the real motivation for all of this. You know, just tonight Ted Lieu, a Democrat, is calling on me to be removed from the House Judiciary Committee. And I believe we are in an era of our politics now, Tucker, where people are smeared to try to take them out of the conversation."
Gaetz is well known as a huge supporter of former President Trump. He backed Trump's false claims that widespread voter fraud had led to the 2020 election being stolen from Trump by Biden. That he'd suggest he might have got a pardon from Biden, as a result, is curious.
Gaetz brings up odd reference to Carlson
Carlson remained poker-faced as the Florida congressman seemed to try to appearl to him by raising what Gaetz characterized as similar accusations faced by the Fox News anchor.
"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 that you did not do. And so, you know what this feels like, you know, the pain it can bring to your family..."
Matt Gaetz, Mired in Scandal, Faces Mounting Calls to Resign
The Florida Republican has denied allegations against him, amid a federal investigation regarding accusations he had a relationship with a 17-year-old girl. He has faced calls to resign though he has denied any accusations made against him. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the Department of Justice was investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with the girl and paid for her to travel with him.The Associated Press also reported this, citing two people familiar with the matter. It outlined that the investigation is looking at whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws.
Gaetz did not specify what allegations he meant. But while assuming an off-hand manner, Carlson replied that the congressman must have meant "...a mentally ill viewer who accused me of a sex crime 20 years ago. Um, and it, of course it was, it was not true. I'd never met the person. But I, I do agree with you that being accused falsely is one of the worst things that can happen. And you do see it a lot."
The incident Carlson mentioned likely occurred after he joined Fox as a contributor in 2009. It was something he detailed in a, when he discussed being "falsely accused of felony rape by a certified public accountant in Indiana who he "had literally never even seen."
Gaetz mentions, but Carlson can't recall, a dinner the two shared
About two thirds of the way through the interview, Gaetz tried to remind Carlson about a dinner the two shared along with Carlson's wife and companion of Gaetz's. That woman, Gaetz said, had been pressured by the FBI to reveal the congressman's misdeeds.
"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. And she was actually threatened by the FBI, told that if she wouldn't cop to the fact that somehow I was involved in some pay for play scheme, uh, that she could face trouble," Gaetz said.
"I don't remember the, the woman you're speaking of," Carlson said while shaking his head, "or the context at all."
Carlson then dropped the discussion about the dinner to question Gaetz further on the girl mentioned in the Times' story.
"The person doesn't exist," Gaetz said. "I have not had a relationship with a 17-year-old. That is totally false. The allegation is, [as] I read it in the New York Times, is that I've traveled with some 17-year-old in some relationship. That is false and records will bear that out to be false."
Adam Kinzinger becomes first Republican in Congress to call for Matt Gaetz's resignation amid federal investigation .
"Matt Gaetz needs to resign," Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., tweeted in response to an article about a Justice Department investigation involving Gaetz."Matt Gaetz needs to resign," Kinzinger tweeted, linking to an article about the Justice Department's investigation into Gaetz.