Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) isn't having a very good press day this Wednesday. This morning, news of Gaetz being schooled by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spread across the web. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley was even more annoyed, bringing down the right-wing think tank-created culture war issue of "critical race theory."
But then things got worse. VICE News quoted Gaetz, "If Democrats want to defund the police, they should start with the FBI." He then deleted it in about one minute.
Gaetz's spokesperson claimed that the congressman "felt it appropriate to remove a jocular tweet taken from a speech some time ago because he takes oversight of the FBI so seriously." It's unclear why Gaetz made the statement, to begin with, if he takes his role so seriously.
Gaetz's office then demanded that VICE News use the full statement from his office or not at all. The rambling statement went off on a rant about the FBI investigating Chinese labs and a Chinese defector.
A search of the quote, "If Democrats want to defund the police, they should start with the FBI," doesn't appear anywhere online linked to a speech from Gaetz. So, if he's said it before it was ignored by every newspaper, cable news outlet, campaign observer, Twitter follower and more. Without any evidence of his previously having said it, it's unclear when Gaetz made the comment and where.
Regardless, it isn't a good look given Gaetz is being investigated by the FBI for his possible role in illegal actions by his close friend Joel Greenberg. He recently pleaded guilty to lesser charges in a deal with prosecutors.
While Gaetz deleted the tweet, it is now being spread across Twitter because he deleted it so quickly after posting it.