Some history, in case you were sleeping against a tree-trunk for the last couple weeks:
…………or skip to the bottom for just the response……….
First, the original tweet
Gaetz is sending this at 4:12pm, around 18 hours before Michael is set to testify, under oath, in public, with cameras, and with a hostile Republican caucus awaiting him, who have set up posters around the room, calling him a liar, and are eager to make Trump happy by ripping him apart.
So, basically, the tweet was “Better not come to that hearing, or else”
and to his credit, Mr. Cohen came to the hearing anyway.
The hearing where “Congressman” Matt Gaetz decided to stand within eyesight of the witness and stare him down.
Anatomy of a Weaseling Out
- Gaetz initially defended the tweet (defiance of ramifications)
“It is entirely appropriate to test the truthfulness of a witness”
He later told The Daily Beast the tweet was
“challenging the veracity and character of a witness. We do it everyday. We typically do it during people’s testimony.
This is what it looks like to compete in the marketplace of ideas”
- Quietly deleted the tweet (consciousness of guilt)
- “Apologized” (with qualifications) to Speaker Pelosi for the tweet (transparently aiming to avoid House punishment)
The tweet was roundly criticized by lawyers, prosecutors congresspeople, and literally the brand new Senator from Gaetz’s home state of Florida, Rick Scott:
Scott slammed Gaetz for the tweet, calling his conduct this week “embarrassing” and “disgusting.”
“We shouldn’t be doing that stuff up here, you might not like what somebody is going to say but you shouldn’t be trying to intimidate them or their family, it’s wrong,” said Scott. “I think it’s disgusting and I’m glad he apologized.”
That’s a United States Senator from Gaetz’s own state, calling it INTIMIDATION.
- “Apologized” for bringing Michael’s family into it, then qualifies the “apology”
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said during a Friday interview on Fox News it was “wrong” for him to “invoke” ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s family in a widely-condemned tweet this week, saying, “I shouldn’t have done it.”
“I’m sorry,” Gaetz said during an appearance on “The Story with Martha MacCallum.” “It is entirely appropriate to test the truthfulness of a witness, but that could have been done in a way that didn’t invoke someone’s family.”
Then, FINALLY, he gets to his “apology,” again, with dishonest qualifications
“Mr. Cohen, this is Congressman Matt Gaetz. I am writing to personally tell you I’m sorry for the tweet that I sent which many believe was threatening to you. It was never ever ever my intent to threaten you in any way. While you don’t know me, that is not who I am and how I operate. I do not wish any harm to you or your family. I was upset at what was transpiring and chose my words poorly. I will work to be better, as I know you said today you will as well. Have a good evening. – Matt.”
- No mention of the lies in the first tweet (none of the promised revelations were forthcoming)
- “Chose my words poorly” ?????
- No retraction of the accusations
- No retraction of his false excuses
- No apology to Michael’s family
- No mention of the timing of the tweet (the day before Michael’s testimony)
- No mention of his telling Trump he was “happy to do it for him”
- No mention of or apology for his attending the hearing or staring Michael down during his testimony
Here’s where it gets good.
All of those who resist accepting that Mr. Cohen is a changed man (or at least recovering), read this acceptance of Gaetz’s apology:
“Congressman Gaetz, I cannot thank you enough for your message. The tweet, sadly, has only made a bad situation worse . . . not only for my wife but for my children as well. With your permission, I would like to share your message with my wife and children. Hopefully, it will bring a little peace to their damaged life. We all make mistakes especially in this crazy partisan time. Thank you again for your text and I hope that the tweet does not cause you any harm. If it does, and there is anything I can do to help you correct it, please feel free to reach out and I would be happy to assist.”
A clear and concise commenter at TPM
Pro tip to Matt: That is you and that is how you operated.
You implied that you had knowledge that Cohen had mistresses you were about to reveal. On what planet would revealing that not be harmful to his family? So there is no way you can reasonably claim you didn’t intend to hurt them.