House

Kinzinger is first GOP lawmaker to call on Gaetz to resign

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) on Thursday night called for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) to resign amid allegations that Gaetz had sex with a minor and violated sex trafficking laws. 

In a short tweet, the Illinois Republican wrote, “Matt Gaetz needs to resign.”

The tweet included a link to an article from The Daily Beast reporting that Gaetz used Venmo to pay an accused sex trafficker $900 in May of 2018. The Beast reports that the man, Joel Greenberg, then sent the same amount of money to teenaged girls.

Greenberg is reportedly set to make a plea deal and cooperate with prosecutors in the coming days.

Kinzinger, a vocal critic of former President Trump and several of his allies, is the first Republican congressman to publicly call for Gaetz to resign. 

Gaetz has long been an ally and defender of the former president. 

Both Kinzinger and Gaetz have shared a contentious and, at times, heated relationship over the past year. 

In early February, Kinzinger told The Washington Post that he had a “huge list” of GOP lawmakers he would like to see challenged for perpetuating unsupported theories surrounding the 2020 election. In particular, Kinzinger took aim at Gaetz and Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), another ardent Trump supporter, accusing them of prioritizing fame over legislating. 

“Oh, there’s a huge list. … I mean, look, all you have to do is see people like, of course, Marjorie Taylor Greene. You look at people like Matt Gaetz, who know better. I think neither of them believes the stuff they ascribe to, they just want fame,” he said at the time. 

In a tweet posted in a response to Kinzinger’s criticism, Gaetz challenged him to “F—ing bring it.” 

The news from Kinzinger comes after The New York Times first reported last week that the Department of Justice was investigating Gaetz over an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, and accusations that he paid for her travel. 

Gaetz told The Hill on Friday that he has no plans to resign, saying rumors that suggested otherwise were “false” and that it was “very safe” to say he had no intentions of doing so.

Several of Gaetz’s critics on the left, including former Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.), have called on him to resign. 

Hill told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes earlier on Thursday that she felt “betrayed” by Gaetz after the two had struck up a friendship during her time in Congress. 

Two of Gaetz’s staffers have resigned so far in light of the allegations. The Times reported Thursday that Gaetz’s legislative director Devin Murphy had resigned last week shortly after his communications chief Luke Ball also resigned.

Tags Adam Kinzinger Adam Kinzinger Donald Trump Katie Hill Kinzinger Marjorie Taylor Greene Matt Gaetz Matt Gaetz Matt Gaetz child sex scandal Meghan McCain Venmo

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