When Donald Trump told Roberta Kaplan, the attorney for Trump rape victim E Jean Carroll, “See you next Tuesday,” she was baffled. They were scheduled for a court session on Wednesday, not Tuesday. Later in the car she was informed by a colleague that it was code for, ah, a particularly odious word.
If you don’t already know what word Trump meant then you can probably figure it out for yourself, though I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t want to. It’s code for the most hideous, anti-woman word in the modern lexicon.
It’s a feature of today’s journalism that we would never hear the end of it had that code phrase been put in the mouth of Joe Biden or Barack Obama. Had that happened it would now be, say, day 347 of Biden’s or Obama’s “Disgusting Word Watch” in all major news outlets, particularly over at sanctimonious Fox “News.”
As it is, Trump’s hideous “joke” barely made it into the back pages of the national press. Such are the lopsided standards when it comes to Trump. So much for bothsidesism.
But we must never permit it to be forgotten that Trump is a rapist. So, as it turns out, could be Matt Gaetz. The difference is, Donald Trump’s rape has been officially ratified by a court of law. Gaetz got lucky and the DOJ decided not to prosecute him.
That could all change. An investigation by the House Ethics Committee into representative Matt Gaetz is reportedly getting some help from a witness with new information. According to The New York Times, former Gaetz confederate Joel Greenberg, who is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence on sex trafficking and other charges, has given testimony and turned over documents to the committee supporting his allegation that he saw Gaetz have sex with an underage girl. In other words, Greenberg saw Gaetz rape a child, and he may be able to prove it in a court of law.
Ordinarily none of this would matter to Republicans in Congress. They only ever eat their young when their young become a major liability, as was the case with ex-congressman George Santos.
But when Gaetz single-handedly got Kevin McCarthy ousted as Speaker of the House, he attracted the deadly ire of many powerful Republicans. The pompous, rude, arrogant Gaetz was deeply hated by most House Republicans already, but not enough for them to do anything about it. Getting rid of McCarthy could turn out to be fatal for Matt’s career. For that he will never be forgiven.
This new evidence could also lead to a refilling of the DOJ’s investigation of Gaetz. That could lead to an indictment which could in turn lead to a conviction. If convicted, Gaetz could do serious prison time. And wouldn’t that be excellent?
MAGA Republicans have long promoted the Q-Anon conspiracy theory that some prominent Democrats are members of a child sex ring. They have done so with innuendo and entirely without a shred of evidence. Now it’s looking like that wasn’t merely a crackpot instance of yet another unsupported slur on Democrats. In the case of Matt Gaetz, it might be pure projection.
Republicans have long been the party of misogyny. From their support of Donald Trump to their oddball religious beliefs in Taliban-like, anti-woman strictures to their repeal of Roe v. Wade to their individual practices of rape, sexual assault and abuse, Republicans have led the way in hating women. Gaetz is nothing more than an individual expression of that tendency, and it would be wonderful indeed if it leads to his downfall and imprisonment.
Gaetz has been unusually quiet and repentant of late. Don’t worry, he isn’t carrying around some magic antidote in the form of a “pocket pardon.” There’s no such thing. That’s just an internet invention. Gaetz is clearly terrified. Let’s hope, at the end of the day, he has good reason to be terrified. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.