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) GaetzI'm not a Nazi, I'm just a dude: What it's like to be the other Steve King Gaetz cleared by Florida Bar after Cohen tweet probe Bottom Line MORE (R-Fla.) said that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? 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 (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report 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 GohmertLouie Gohmert's exchange with Robert Mueller revealed an uneasy relationship Conservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess Mueller will be remembered for his weak testimony, not his shocking report 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.