Shortly after the New York Times reported that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is facing a Justice Department investigation over his alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old, the Florida congressman responded to the bombshell report on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, alleging that he’s the victim of a $25 million extortion scheme.
But the strangest moments of Gaetz’s appearance, during which he also specifically labeled a 17-year-old a “woman,” might be when Gaetz seemingly tried to drag Carlson into his burgeoning scandal.
“I’m not the only person on screen right now who has been falsely accused of a terrible sex act,” Gaetz said, apparently referring to claims made last year that Carlson had sexually harassed a former Fox News contributor. “You were accused of something that you did not do. So you know what this feels like.”
Here, Carlson’s trademark confused facial expressions, typically reserved to express fake outrage, appeared legitimate. But the head-scratching only continued when Gaetz seemingly attempted to once more tie the two men together. “You and I went to dinner, about two years ago,” Gaetz said. “I brought a friend of mine. You’ll remember her. She was actually threatened by the FBI, told that if she wouldn’t cop to the fact that somehow I was involved in some pay-for-play scheme, she should be in trouble.”
Gaetz again bizarrely implicates Tucker Carlson in his own personal peccadillo, then says, "providing for flights and hotel rooms for people that you're dating who are of legal age is not a crime" pic.twitter.com/wD0hUmwGGN
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 31, 2021
“I don’t remember the woman you are speaking of or the context at all, honestly,” Carlson responded, his confused face growing darker. That all comes amid Gaetz, unprompted, suggesting that allegations of him being photographed with child prostitutes may soon emerge. Later, Carlson called the exchange “one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever conducted.”
As for Gaetz’s explosive claim that he’s the victim of an extortion plot, watch Times reporter Katie Benner effectively debunk that one.