House Republican says Trump calls him regularly ‘because I defend him on television’

House Republican says Trump calls him regularly ‘because I defend him on television’

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGOP lawmakers demand drafts of DOJ report on Clinton email investigation Live coverage: IG releases watchdog report on FBI, Clinton probe Ryan remarks on Trump ‘spygate’ leave conservatives fuming MORE (R-Fla.) said that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday Shows preview: Lawmakers, Trump allies discuss Russia probe, migrant family separation Seth McFarlane: Fox News makes me 'embarrassed' to work for this company  'Art of the Deal' co-author: Trump would act like Kim Jong Un if he had the same powers MORE calls him on the phone periodically, and that he believes it's because he often comes to the president's defense on television.

"He cracks me up when he calls," Gaetz told BuzzFeed News.

"I think it’s because I defend him on television," the Florida Republican said, explaining why Trump calls him. 

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Gaetz, a freshman congressman who took office just weeks before Trump entered the White House, has emerged as one of the president's most ardent defenders in Congress. 

He's been particularly critical of efforts by congressional committees and special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE to investigate Russia's role in the 2016 election and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

He gained notoriety in November when he and two other House Republicans – Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertHouse conservatives introduce resolution calling for second special counsel White House-backed prison reform bill advances in House GOP Rep. Zeldin to lead call for second special counsel MORE (R-Texas) – introduced a resolution calling for Mueller to be removed from the Russia probe. 

He has also accused the special counsel's investigation of rampant bias, and pushed for the release of a controversial memo by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee that alleged abuses by the FBI and Justice Department.