GOP lawmaker: Accusations against Jim Jordan come from ‘deep state’

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzImpeachment figure among those chosen for Facebook's new oversight board House GOP urge Trump against supporting additional funding for state and local governments GOP lawmakers press Trump to suspend visas over coronavirus job losses MORE (R-Fla.) on Wednesday said members of the so-called deep state are behind the allegations that Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanFBI director stuck in the middle with 'Obamagate' Merger moratorium takes center stage in antitrust debate Trump campaign launches new fundraising program with House Republicans MORE (R-Ohio) turned a blind eye to sexual abuse while he was an Ohio State University wrestling coach. 

"I think there are people that have some loose affiliation with the deep state that are out to get Jim Jordan," Gaetz told Lou Dobbs on his Fox Business Network show on Wednesday. "This is the way they’re manifesting their hatred for a man that is doing everything to fight for the regular folks in this country."

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Gaetz added that the timing of the allegations is suspicious, considering they surfaced only shortly after Jordan had questioned Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinSenate Republicans issue first subpoena in Biden-Burisma probe Graham to release report on his probe into Russia investigation before election McConnell embraces subpoena of Obama-era officials MORE during a hearing about the Department of Justice's conduct in its investigation of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' GOP sues California over Newsom's vote-by-mail order MORE's 2016 campaign.

“If Jim Jordan was not after the Department of Justice and the FBI, he would not be dealing with these allegations," Gaetz said. "They are totally false, I am confident in that to my core."

The comments come as multiple Ohio State wrestlers accuse Jordan, who was an Ohio State wrestling coach from 1987 to 1995, of knowing about accusations that former team doctor Richard Strauss abused athletes. 

Strauss, who died in 2005, has been accused of sexually assaulting more than 1,000 athletes from 15 varsity sports.  

Jordan has repeatedly denied the allegations, and has said he would have spoken up had he known. Jordan has also said the accusation's timing is suspect, considering his bid to become the next Speaker.

More than a dozen former Ohio State wrestlers have defended their former wrestling coach. In addition, six former OSU wrestling coaches have gone on record in support of the GOP lawmaker. 

Gaetz's comments about Jordan also comes as many Republican lawmakers defend his integrity. The House Freedom Caucus, where Jordan once served as chairman, tweeted on Wednesday that if Jordan knew of the abuse, “he would have acted.”

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanLobbying world John Ratcliffe is the right choice for director of national intelligence — and for America House Democrat calls for halt to lawmakers sleeping in their offices MORE (R-Wis.) told reporters on Wednesday that he's always known Jordan to be a man of "honesty" and "integrity."