Gaetz to be featured speaker at pro-Trump women's group event

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Rep. Matt Gaetz, mired in an ongoing federal sex trafficking investigation, is headed to former President Donald Trump’s resort in Doral this Friday where he will be a featured speaker at a summit hosted by a conservative pro-Trump women’s group.

Women for America First announced late Tuesday that Gaetz would be a speaker at the three-day “Save America Summit.” This is the same group that helped organize the “March for Trump” rally in Washington that took place just hours before the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead.

The organization praised Gaetz as one of the “few members of Congress” willing to “stand up & fight on behalf of President Trump & his America First agenda.” Women For America First says on its website that “We won’t be pushed around by bullies who tell us who we are ‘supposed’ to like. And we’re not going to keep quiet just because the Washington, D.C. power elites and mainstream media want us to!”

Gaetz on Twitter thanked the group for “the invitation to share my vision for our great nation.”

This marks one of the few public appearances by the northwest Florida congressman since news first surfaced of the probe into whether he had sex with a 17-year-old girl. Gaetz did an interview last week on Fox News with Tucker Carlson where he denied any wrongdoing but which Carlson later called one of the “weirdest” in his career and which he said did little to clarify what is going on.

Gaetz has suggested the investigation is tied to a recent extortion plot aimed at his wealthy family, but federal authorities launched the probe last year. He also published an op-ed on Monday where he explained that he was “no monk” when it came to his personal life but added that he wasn’t resigning from his safe ruby-red district seat.

Gaetz earned national attention over the last four years as a tireless defender of Trump, as well as for his penchant for spotlight-grabbing events such as wearing a gas mask on the House floor during a debate over coronavirus. Along the way, he has clashed with Democrats and taken aim at other Republicans, such as Rep. Liz Cheney over her vote in favor of impeaching the president following the Jan. 6 riots.

So far, Trump and many other top Republicans have remained mum or stayed silent about Gaetz as details of the investigation have begun to dribble out. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been a top ally of Gaetz and tapped him to help with his transition team when he first took office, has declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

Despite the salacious nature of the investigation, many Republicans back home in Gaetz’s district are standing by him, contending that he may have been targeted by the media due to his defense of Trump.

The summit being held at Doral coincides with a Republican National Committee spring donor retreat being held about 70 miles north in Palm Beach. Trump is scheduled to attend the retreat.

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