Kevin McCarthy: Gaetz Says He's Innocent
The Republican leader in the House of Representatives said Thursday that Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is undergoing a federal investigation into allegations of sex trafficking, is "innocent until proven guilty" and Republicans don't plan to punish him unless he is charged.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also told reporters that in a private conversation, the Florida Republican told him he was innocent of the charges he faces.
McCarthy said he told Gaetz the party would act against him if a lawsuit were to be filed. The Republican Party bylaw of the House of Representatives requires that deputies accused of serious crimes lose their membership in the committees.
“Matt Gaetz is the same as any American, he's innocent until proven guilty,” McCarthy said when asked about pulling Gaetz off the Judiciary panel. “There are no charges against him yet. If a charge comes forward, that will be dealt with at that time."
McCarthy said he had no prior knowledge of the allegations against the Gaetz.
Gates has publicly declared his innocence and has not yet been charged. Although he is only in his fifth year in Congress, his frequent appearances on television and his strong support for former President Donald Trump have given him a high profile, especially in conservative circles.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said excluding Gaetz from his committees is “the least that could be done" to punish him if the charges against him prove true.
April 15, 2021