Rep. Matt Gaetz has gotten no laws passed but has posted over 1,200 YouTube videos since he was elected in 2016.
Axios reported Tuesday that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is considering not seeking reelection in 2022 and instead is thinking of taking an on-air position at Newsmax TV, the right-wing cable news channel.
Becoming a full-time media personality would not be much of a shift in activity for Gaetz.
Since first being elected to represent Florida's safely Republican 1st Congressional District in 2016, Gaetz has proposed just 24 bills and resolutions, far fewer than those introduced by a typical member of Congress. Only one bill backed by Gaetz, concerning land conveyance in Florida's Escambia County, passed the House, and none of his proposals made it into law, even when Republicans held majorities in the House and Senate.
Gaetz has been a ubiquitous presence in conservative media, appearing almost nightly on cable news to make the case for his idol Donald Trump and the so-called "MAGA" agenda. His frequently updated official YouTube page contains over 1,275 videos of his media appearances and statements.
Gaetz even had a television studio built in his father's Florida home, from which he frequently makes appearances on right-wing TV. According to a Politico investigation last year, the studio might violate House rules against accepting gifts valued over $50. Gaetz aides told Politico the studio was approved by the House Ethics Committee but refused to provide any documentation to that effect. Gaetz also refused to provide details about the arrangement with the company that constructed the studio or the fees paid to the company every time Gaetz appears on air.
When he's not on TV, Gaetz produces his own podcast, "Hot Takes with Matt Gaetz," recording 152 episodes so far.
Gaetz has explicitly said that he views his role in Washington as trolling on behalf of the right and defending Trump.
"I wake up every day and I do what I can to expose what I believe is an intractable bias among the people who are investigating the president," he said in 2019.
If he does move to Newsmax, he will be among likeminded people in the world of pro-Trump conspiracy theorizing.
Newsmax TV was one of the key outlets after Trump lost the 2020 election to spread an array of debunked election narratives. Personalities on the network went beyond even the right-wing Fox News in refusing to call the election for Joe Biden even when it was clear he had won, and continued to promote election-related conspiracy theories.
The network repeatedly alleged that votes had been flipped from Trump to Biden and that Democrats had stolen the election. It aired false and unsupported allegations made by Trump allies like Rudy Giuliani and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell about purported election theft.
Gaetz has himself claimed that antifa somehow infiltrated the pro-Trump mob, making him an easy fit for the Newsmax team.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.