We didn’t see this one coming, but maybe we should have. House Republican Matt Gaetz just appeared on Fox News and offered to represent Trump in his Senate impeachment trial. Gaetz then went so far as to specifically state that he’s willing to resign his House seat if that is what’s necessary for him to join Trump’s impeachment team. Wait, what’s going on here?
To be clear, this could just be all talk. If Gaetz is reasonably certain that he won’t be tapped to join Trump’s impeachment legal team, then he can publicly offer to sacrifice himself like this without losing anything. But given Trump’s propensity for watching Fox News, and for tapping his most eager loyalists to serve in positions that they definitely aren’t suited for, Gaetz has to know that there’s at least some theoretical chance that Trump might take him up on it.
In such case, it would instantly be the end of Matt Gaetz’s political career. If he gives up his House seat he’s never getting it back. And he’s certainly never getting elected to any higher office. So he’s simply be done. You have to wonder if Gaetz is making this offer because he wants out of the House, and this would be an excuse for him to get out.
It’s worth considering that Gaetz is saying this on the same day that his attempt at ousting Liz Cheney from the House Republican leadership ended up failing by about a three-to-one margin. Gaetz now has a powerful and vindictive enemy within his own caucus. If Cheney ever becomes House Republican Leader, Gaetz will persona non grata.
Meanwhile, if Gaetz were to bail out of his political career, he’d surely have some kind of lucrative punditry gig awaiting him at Fox News or an even lower-standards network. So while we don’t know for sure why Gaetz is suddenly talking about resigning, the timing sure is interesting. We’ll see.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report