Of all the people unimpressed with Congressman Matt Gaetz today, no one takes a back seat to Michael Cohen, former fixer and lawyer for Gaetz's hero, Donald Trump.
Here's what Cohen tweeted Tuesday:
"There are so many things I want to say…but I won't and will just l let this @nyt article speak for itself. #DirtBag @mattgaetz Is Said to Be investigated Over a Possible Sexual Relationship With A Girl 17--New York Times."
Cohen's use of the hashtag #DirtBag arguably mitigated the need for him to say "many things." But there was restraint by Cohen, who had been publicly dragged through the mud by Gaetz on the eve of Cohen's February 27, 2019 testimony before Congress' House Oversight and Reform Committee.
One day before Cohen's appearance, Gaetz tweeted:
"Hey @MichaelCohen212--Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she'll remain faithful when you're in prison. She's about to learn a lot."
The tweet did not go well for Gaetz. After initially defending his words as "entirely appropriate," Gaetz surrendered that very night under an avalanche of criticism that he was tampering with and threatening a witness, including a warning from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Quickly, Gaetz deleted the offending tweet and apologized for it on Twitter:
"Speaker, I want to get the truth too. While it is important 2 create context around the testimony of liars like Michael Cohen, it was NOT my intent to threaten, as some believe I did. I'm deleting the tweet & I should have chosen words that better showed my intent. I'm sorry."
Of course, Gaetz wasn't sorry enough to shut up. As Vanity Fair reported,
"Throughout the hearing the following day, Gaetz tweeted and re-tweeted articles disparaging Cohen and his testimony, even as lawmakers and critics continued to ridicule his comments."
That wasn't the end of it. The original tweet did garner Gaetz a full-fledged ethics investigation by the Florida Bar Association, but he was found not to have committed a violation months later.
And Gaetz wasn't finished with his apology tour, however forced it might have been. Vanity Fair reported:
"After Cohen's day on the Hill, Gaetz was backpedaling even further. 'Mr. Cohen, this is Congressman Matt Gaetz,' he wrote in a text to Cohen. "'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," he continued, "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.'"
At the time, Cohen reacted graciously, according to the magazine.
"Cohen wasted no time in responding. '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.'"
And so it went. More from Vanity Fair:
"Later that evening, Gaetz tweeted that he had personally apologized to Cohen "4 referencing his private family in the public square. Regardless of disagreements, family members should be off-limits from attacks from representatives, senators & presidents, including myself. Let's leave the Cohen family alone."
"Gaetz repeated his apology in an interview with Fox News on Friday night, saying he should not have invoked Cohen's family. He took the opportunity to pat himself on the back, and to chastise those he feels are unduly hard on him because of his vocal support for the president. "The reason your network has me on a lot is because I'm one of the leading voices standing up for the president," he said. "This time I crossed the line. It's a sign of valor that I'm willing to admit that." He added that "it seems as though the people who defend the president most vigorously do spend their time in the barrel with the Ethics Committee, so I guess it's my turn."
Two years later, Gaetz is having his turn again, but in front of a much bigger barrel than the Ethics Committee. Suffice it to say that the Department of Justice is looking much more than "a sign of valor."
And apparently Michael Cohen has no need to express graciousness any longer.