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

GOP Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzMatt Gaetz, Roger Stone back far-right activist Laura Loomer in congressional bid Gaetz set to endorse primary opponent of fellow Florida GOP lawmaker The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Progress slow on coronavirus bill 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 John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' 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.