GOP rep: I've 'personally apologized' to Cohen for 'referencing his private family in the public square'

GOP Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzMask rules spark political games and a nasty environment in the House Gallego on Jan. 6 rioters: 'F--- them' The Hill's Morning Report - For Biden, it goes from bad to worse MORE (Fla.) said that he has “personally apologized” to Michael Cohen for a tweet that drew accusations of witness tampering.

Gaetz said in a tweet Wednesday night following congressional testimony from President TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE’s former lawyer that Cohen’s family should be “off-limits.”

“I’ve personally apologized to [Cohen] 4 referencing his private family in the public square,” Gaetz tweeted. “Regardless of disagreements, family members should be off-limits from attacks from representatives, senators & presidents, including myself.”

“Let’s leave the Cohen family alone.”

Gaetz sparked backlash and a Florida state bar investigation for a since-deleted tweet attacking Cohen ahead of his hearing.

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“Hey @MichaelCohen212 — Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends?” Gaetz tweeted at the time. “Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…”

A number of Democratic lawmakers have called for an ethics investigation into Gaetz’s tweet. The lawmaker, a close ally of Trump, initially defended his comments, saying he was witness “testing,” not tampering.

Gaetz apologized publicly earlier Wednesday, saying it was “NOT my intent to threaten [Cohen], as some believe I did.

The Florida Bar confirmed Wednesday that it has opened an investigation into whether Gaetz, a licensed attorney in the state, violated professional conduct rules with his tweet.

Gaetz’s latest tweet came hours after the conclusion of Cohen’s public testimony in front of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, during which the former lawyer made a number of explosive claims about Trump's behavior in office.