Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has been informally blacklisted by Fox News after trying to loop host Tucker Carlson into his sex trafficking scandal during an appearance last month.
The Florida Republican angered network brass after seemingly trying to turn Carlson into an exonerating witness, which made the popular prime time host visibly uncomfortable on air, and Fox News insiders told The Daily Beast that Gaetz was "going to be excommunicado for a while."
"It's highly unlikely you'll see him on again anytime soon," one network insider told the website.
Carlson was reportedly "livid" that Gaetz tried to implicate him during the interview, but staffers and hosts are trying to walk a fine line between keeping the embattled lawmaker at arm's length without angering viewers who love the loyal ally to former president Donald Trump.
Gaetz hasn't appeared on Fox News since the late March appearance on Carlson's show, and the network has barely mentioned his name as the scandal continues to swirl around him.
Even Trump was critical of Gaetz's actions during the interview, where he asked Carlson whether he remembered him bringing a 17-year-old companion on dinner date with the broadcaster and his wife.
"What was he thinking?" Trump asked in the days afterward, according to one person with direct knowledge of the matter. "What the hell was he thinking?"
However, another source told the website that Trump has privately expressed a willingness to help Gaetz by branding damaging reports as "fake" news, but the former president and his allies have discussed ways to insulate themselves from the lawmaker via phone calls and group messages reviewed by The Daily Beast."[Matt Gaetz] used to be a useful idiot," said one person involved in those conversations. "Now, he's just an idiot to us."