First Republican in Congress calls on Matt Gaetz to resign

Embattled Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is now receiving pressure to resign from inside his own Republican caucus.

"Matt Gaetz needs to resign," Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) tweeted on Thursday evening.

The congressman linked to a blockbuster new story by The Daily Beast titled, "Gaetz Paid Accused Sex Trafficer, Who Then Venmo'd Teen."

"In two late-night Venmo transactions in May 2018, Rep. Matt Gaetz sent his friend, the accused sex trafficker Joel Greenberg, $900. The next morning, over the course of eight minutes, Greenberg used the same app to send three young women varying sums of money. In total, the transactions amounted to $900," The Daily Beast reported Thursday. "The memo field for the first of Gaetz's transactions to Greenberg was titled 'Test.' In the second, the Florida GOP congressman wrote 'hit up ___.' But instead of a blank, Gaetz wrote a nickname for one of the recipients. (The Daily Beast is not sharing that nickname because the teenager had only turned 18 less than six months before.) When Greenberg then made his Venmo payments to these three young women, he described the money as being for 'Tuition,' 'School,' and 'School.'"

"Gaetz and Greenberg are both connected through Venmo to this then-18-year-old woman—who now works in the porn industry, according to a friend of the girl. And on Thursday, Greenberg's attorney and prosecutors indicated during a court hearing that they expect Greenberg to strike a plea deal, likely meaning he plans to cooperate with investigators," The Beast reported. "That could be potentially disastrous for Gaetz, as investigators look into the connections between these two men. And one particularly damning connection is their financial transactions."

Gaetz has been defended by Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), but Republicans defending Gaetz are "few and far between."

If Gaetz were to resign, Gov. Ron DeSantis would have broad authority to determine the timing of a special election to fill the panhandle district Gaetz represents.

Politico's Melanie Zanona noted Kinzinger is the first Republican in Congress to call on Gaetz to resign.