'Everyone thinks that this is going the wrong direction': Republicans faced with dealing with Matt Gaetz as Congress returns
Pool photo via Agence France-Presse

Republican lawmakers returning to the Capitol after a break are about to be confronted with working with -- and questions about -- Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) this week, reports CNN.

During Congress's Spring break, the controversial Florida lawmaker became even more controversial after it was leaked that he is under multiple investigations related to sex trafficking and allegedly paying women for sex. Now as lawmakers return, they can expect to be inundated with questions from the press as to whether the Gaetz should resign.

As CNN notes, to date, most Republicans have been silent on Gaetz's legal problems.

"When it was first revealed that Gaetz was under investigation by the FBI, the House was in a two-week recess, allowing Republican leaders to largely ignore the scandal and its political implications. Now the House is returning Tuesday to major debates on President Joe Biden's massive infrastructure plan and the record number of unaccompanied minors on the southern border, but questions about Gaetz threaten to distract from Republicans' messaging," CNN reports. "But even before the allegations surfaced, Gaetz didn't have many friends in the House Republican Conference. He quickly rose to prominence through conservative cable television by tying his fortunes to former President Donald Trump and openly challenging Republican establishment leaders like House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming."

With reports stating that even Donald Trump has been keeping his distance from Gaetz, who is one of his most rabid supporters, one person close to the ex-president said things aren't looking good for the conservative lawmaker.

"With his political future under threat, Gaetz has received only tepid support from Trump. The former President issued a statement saying Gaetz had not asked him for a pardon, adding, 'It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him,'" the report states with the former Trump campaign official stating, "I think everyone's trying to keep it off their plate right now. I think everyone thinks that this is going the wrong direction for him."

The report goes on to note that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is set to speak with Gaetz upon his return after telling reporters the allegations about the lawmaker are "serious" as he also faces a House Ethics Committee inquiry.

CNN reports, "One question looming is whether Gaetz returns to Washington on Tuesday for House votes. He submitted a letter to the House clerk last month allowing him to vote by proxy -- which is allowed under House rules due to the pandemic -- but it's not clear if he will use it. Rep. Michael Waltz, the Florida Republican designated as his proxy, had not been asked to cast votes on Gaetz's behalf as of Sunday evening, according to Waltz's office."

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