Katie Hill: Gaetz ‘needs to be held responsible’ if sex allegations true
Former Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) said if allegations of sex with a minor and child sex trafficking against Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) are true then he should be “held responsible.”
“Let me state it as clearly as possible: If, despite his denials, Matt Gaetz did have sex with a minor, if he did provide girls and young women with drugs and money and gifts in exchange for sex, if he did ask these girls and young women to recruit other women for the same purpose, and if he did show his colleagues images of nude women without their consent, he needs to be held responsible,” Hill wrote Monday in an op-ed published in Vanity Fair.
“Some of these actions are criminal and some of them should be. All are morally reprehensible and unacceptable for a lawmaker,” she added.
Gaetz is the subject of a federal investigation into whether he paid women — and a 17-year-old girl — for sexual favors. He has denied he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and has suggested the allegations are part of an extortion plot and a political smear campaign.
Gaetz defended Hill in 2019 after it was revealed the House would investigate allegations of an extramarital affair with an office staffer. She later resigned.
“Who among us would look perfect if every ex leaked every photo/text? Katie isn’t being investigated by Ethics or maligned because she hurt anyone — it is because she is different,” Gaetz said at the time.
Nude photos of Hill were published online during her scandal, an episode she referenced in expressing dismay at reports that Gaetz allegedly showed other lawmakers on the House floor nude photos and videos of women he had slept with.
“There are moments when you learn that someone you’ve considered a friend has done something abhorrent. You have to decide whether to stick by them, stay silent, or speak out against them,” Hill wrote. “Many lawmakers have been in this position, but regular people face the same dilemmas in their own lives. Like when a buddy shows you the private pictures of the hot girl he’s sleeping with. Or you find out that a colleague you like and respect has had an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate. Sometimes it’s a tough call. But sometimes it’s not.”
Hill wrote about the two lawmaker’s friendship, saying they kept in touch through 2020 and often traded ideas about upcoming projects or details of one another’s personal lives.
“Matt was the first member of Congress who publicly and unapologetically defended me, saying that while I might have made mistakes, I was a victim in this circumstance,” she said. “At one of the darkest moments of my life, when I was feeling more alone than I ever had, Matt stood up for me—and that really mattered.”
Hill said she was regularly shocked and disappointed at Gaetz’s unabashed support for former President Trump in the run-up to last year’s presidential election, and was confused when he told her “I don’t think I want to be in Congress after he’s done as president.”
When Gaetz defended Hill during her own sex scandal, the former lawmaker said her mother told her to be wary of the rising Republican star.
“When the news about Matt Gaetz broke, my mom once again called to ask if I was okay. She knew about our friendship and didn’t like it. From the very beginning she’d told me to be careful and not to trust him,” she said. “When he defended me, she raised her eyebrows and told me I’d better not sleep with him (I did not, for the record).”
Gaetz told The Hill last week he does not intend to resign.