In a report detailing the symbiotic relationship between Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and his longtime friend Joel Greenberg -- now awaiting trial on a 33 count indictment ranging from financial crimes to sex trafficking of a minor -- Florida locals admit they are surprised at the turn of events that has the GOP lawmaker fighting for his political career.
According to Politico's Marc Caputo, the two sons of wealthy families who are at the center of a scandal that is being investigated by the Justice Department, are well known for their exploits and associates believe it was only a matter of time before it caught up to them.
"Their relationship is central to the allegations against Gaetz, a fierce Donald Trump ally who denies having sexual relations with a 17-year-old and prostitutes. Together, the taxman and the congressman shared a life-in-the-fast lane existence that contradicted the staid image that most elected officials are careful to maintain," Caputo wrote. "The only-in-Florida political drama has taken one bizarre twist after another in the week since the news broke of the investigation into Gaetz. It's a tale marked by a complicated extortion allegation involving Iran and Israel, alleged sexual crimes, a tangential cameo of a popular conservative cartoonist and even a porn star."
According to local lawyer David Bear, who represents a rival of Greenberg, "You couldn't make this story up, it's so crazy," before adding, "Ultimately, it's about abuse of power and how the Republican Party lost its way with guys like this. As one of the few remaining Never Trump Republicans, nothing could make me happier than seeing Matt Gaetz and his kind being taken down. They're the embodiment of Trumpism."
Noting that the relationship between the two is not one of equals -- with Gaetz a high-profile member of the House and Greenberg toiling in local Florida politics -- an associate of the two said they had one major connection.
"Joel idolized Matt," explained the friend, who asked not to be named and added, "And since they both loved beautiful women and Joel seemed to have endless access to them, it was definitely an additional incentive for Matt to stick around. Also, Joel is one of the funnest people you can hang out with."
According to those who know the two, it was not unusual for them to "share" girlfriends, with Caputo writing, "Gaetz described Greenberg as a 'wingman' to some acquaintances, and even promoted him as a potential congressional candidate. Now some suspect Greenberg might be cooperating with prosecutors to build a case against Gaetz."
Greenberg might have good reason to cooperate since Politico is reporting that friends of his have been speaking with investigators about comments he made.
"Less than a year after winning office, the indictment says, Greenberg engaged in a sexual relationship with a minor and, using his special access to a federal ID system as tax collector, 'obtained, disclosed, transferred, and used personal information of individuals … including individuals with whom [he] was engaged in 'sugar daddy' relationships'," the Politico report states, "Three Greenberg friends — including one who testified before the federal grand jury investigation into Greenberg — told POLITICO they personally heard him boast about his 2017 relationship with a then-17-year-old girl they claim went on to work in pornography."
One other mutual friend reinforced the claim that Gaetz and Greenberg are deeply tied to each other, telling Politico, "Sure, Matt and Joel have a taste for pretty women like any red-blooded American male, but their relationship was personal and political beyond that. They're both MAGA, both into cryptocurrency and they're both really smart."
You can read much more here.
President Joe Biden officially let the federal government at midnight on Saturday.
Politico reported, "millions of tenants are staring at the prospect of losing their homes as they wait for emergency rental aid that the government has failed to deliver."
The Biden administration announced on Thursday it would let the ban expire.
On Friday, congressional Democrats received harsh criticism of after failing to pass an eviction moratorium and then leaving for a seven-week vacation.
"The eviction wave is expected to hit population centers across the country. Housing advocates point to renters in Ohio, Texas and parts of the Southeast — where tenant protections are generally low, housing costs are high and economic problems from the pandemic linger — as particularly at risk. Even though it has its own ban in place through August, New York is also a concern, because it has been especially slow at distributing rental assistance funds to the hundreds of thousands of tenants in the state who are behind on their rent," Politico reported.
USA Today also cited tenant protections as determining where the impacts will be the worst.
"Parts of the South and other regions with weaker tenant protections will likely see the largest spikes, and communities of color, where vaccination rates are sometimes lower, will be hit hardest," USA Today reported. "The crisis will only get worse in September when the first foreclosure proceedings are expected to begin. An estimated 1.75 million homeowners — roughly 3.5% of all homes — are in some sort of forbearance plan with their banks, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association."
CBS News cited an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
"The CBPP estimated that about 16% of U.S. households were behind on rent — double the pre-pandemic level. But the rent burden is spread unequally around the country," CBS News reported. "In some states, more than a quarter of renters are behind on payments, according to CPBB calculations. The Southeast is the hardest hit: 29% of renters in Mississippi and 28% in South Carolina were behind in the first week of July, according to the CBPP's calculations. In Georgia, 1 in 4 isn't caught up on rent."
Reuters reported more than 15 million Americans could face eviction.
"More than 15 million people in 6.5 million U.S. households are currently behind on rental payments, according to a study by the Aspen Institute and the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, collectively owing more than $20 billion to landlords," Reuters reported.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), who has lived unhoused, led progressive Democrats in a midnight rally.
Joining @RepCori and others now at the Capitol fighting to #ExtendtheMoratorium https://t.co/SuDecySWgh— Rep. Jim McGovern (@Rep. Jim McGovern) 1627790205.0
We’re out here to extend the moratorium, so where’s Congress? It’s time we come back and #ExtendTheMoratorium https://t.co/5n2h4NMfEp— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1627790232.0
A couple hundred people showed up at the Capitol at midnight to protest as the eviction moratorium expires. Thank… https://t.co/wwdy4Qw4Rs— Sawyer Hackett (@Sawyer Hackett) 1627789996.0
Republicans were criticized for a lack of maturity in responding to the coronavirus in a hard-hitting editorial by the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina.
"When he wrote his book The Vanishing American Adult, first published in 2017, Republican Sen. Ben Sasse surely didn't have his colleagues in the U.S. House in mind. But he well could have been describing the participants in a scene we witnessed last week," the newspaper wrote.
The editorial board described the meltdown by Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) over masks.
"This kind of tantrum from elected officials should be embarrassing. These are grown men and women. Especially in the face of a changing pandemic that, as we write, is killing about 300 Americans a day, they should be setting an example for the rest of us — not only by enthusiastically encouraging the procedures and practices that we know reduce casualties, but by controlling their childish impulses. Their ugly fits benefit no one," the newspaper noted. "Not wearing a mask around other people is a stupid hill on which to die — especially when you can do so literally."
The newspaper noted that the over 90% of the spread of coronavirus in North Carolina is amon the unvaccinated.
"Increased caution is not just justified, it's necessary. That shouldn't be hard for a mature adult with a fully developed brain to understand. We may not like it, but not liking it doesn't change it," the editorial board wrote. "The problem is that so many refuse to take personal responsibility. That affects others."
The newspaper argued Republican elected officials were out of step with their voters.
"We know that most rank-and-file conservatives are not as immature as some of their representatives. They support the science and want us to overcome this scourge as quickly as possible," the Winston-Salem Journal wrote. "We encourage them to contact their representatives and tell them to knock off the juvenile behavior. We need leaders of character and maturity to help get us past this crisis."
GOP Rep. Chip Roy, flanked by Marjorie Taylor Greene, rages against the reinstated House mask mandate: “We gotta… https://t.co/fzt927vhyo— Andrew Solender (@Andrew Solender) 1627486407.0
AdChoicesSponsoredThe Readers' Forum: Sunday lettersBOWEN HOUFFI'm not yet sure how I come down on the proposed "improvement" at Tanglewood, but the letter writer's admission that the addition will take less than 1/1300 of the existing park does not help the argument against it.Top CommentTop Comment2Crumbl Cookies opens on Hanes Mall Blvd.PATTI PETREEThey are delicious!Top CommentTop CommentDick Polman: Words the MAGA cult don't want you to hearPAMELA CORBETTPerhaps these officers have filed complaints. Steve, why don't YOU watch the unedited four-hour video of testimony these officers provided? You will see some video of what happened as well as hear directly from those who experienced it. I think you will find it enlightening.Top CommentTop Comment1D.D. Adams: Opportunity is knocking at Forsyth TechClassical LibHere, here! Great advice, a fantastic investment in hope and opportunity!Top CommentTop CommentForsyth County, Winston-Salem reimpose masking rules in government facilitiesSTEVEN HENDERSONDoesn't affect me..as I don't go thereTop CommentTop Comment
NFL coach 'disappointed' and 'frustrated' with unvaccinated after 3 QBs sidelined due to COVID protocols
One National Football League head coach is voicing frustration with the unvaccinated after COVID-19 protocols sidelined three of his quarterbacks.
"Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has been very outspoken about his opinion on the COVID-19 vaccine: everyone should get it. But, despite repeated attempts to get his players protected from the virus, several of Zimmer's Vikings remain unvaccinated," Sports Illustrated's "The Spun" reported Saturday.
Due to the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols, multiple players will be held out of tonight’s practice inside TCO Stadium… https://t.co/80NGq0iQPp— Minnesota Vikings (@Minnesota Vikings) 1627765200.0
"I am disappointed that this happened. I'm frustrated, not just with my football players who didn't get vaccinated, but I'm frustrated with everybody [who has not been vaccinated]," he said.
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