The Republican congressman wants Trump's enemies locked up for the 'crime' of investigating Trump's crimes.
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz — arguably Trump's most devoted lapdog in Congress — was part of the opening act for the MAGA rally in Florida Wednesday night, where Gaetz declared that those who investigate Trump should be locked up.
"If anybody tries to deprive us of this country we have earned," Gaetz shouted to the crowd, "if they try to undermine our president with lawless investigations, meaningless subpoenas, absurd contempt citations — we're going to turn the tables on them, we're going to investigate the investigators, and you're right! If it takes it, we will lock them up!"
At which point, the crowd took its cue and started chanting, "Lock them up!"
It's the kind of red-meat nonsense that Trump's rally-goers have come to expect: Those who dare to exercise congressional oversight of Trump's lawless administration are somehow behaving lawlessly. Those who were tasked with investigating Trump's obstruction of justice — and found several examples of it — are somehow the ones who deserve jail time. It's all bizarre, but that's what happens at a Trump rally.
It's also a bizarre argument coming from someone who is currently facing his own legal problems in Florida. Gaetz is under investigation for attempted witness tampering, after he publicly threatened Trump's former fixer and attorney Michael Cohen in an effort to stop his damning testimony to Congress.
The threat didn't work, but it did land Gaetz in trouble with the Florida Bar Association, which decided this week to escalate its investigation of his behavior.
Gaetz isn't shy about using his role in Congress to protect Trump. He has openly admitted that the reason he's there is not the people of Florida he's supposed to represent but Trump.
"I don't know how I'd fit into this place in the absence of the president," Gaetz told Buzzfeed in March.
"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."
Gaetz even floated the idea of officially abandoning his Florida constituents to run for Senate in Alabama, though he has supposedly ruled that out.
In April, Gaetz shared a video on social media supposedly watching Trump's wall being built on the border, to show that Trump really is keeping his promise. Except that he wasn't near the border and it wasn't really a wall; it was just a prototype demonstration in the middle of Arizona.
Now, in his latest demonstration of loyalty to Trump, Gaetz is calling for Trump's perceived enemies to be locked up. It's a tired refrain from 2016, when Trump and his rally-goers wanted Hillary Clinton locked up. And while they might all still believe she deserves prison time for the crime of being Hillary Clinton, at least now they can direct their "lock 'em up!" cheers at some new targets.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.