Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is willing to give up his congressional seat if asked to defend President Donald Trump as part of his legal team in the upcoming Senate impeachment trial.
“I love my district, I love representing them, but I view this cancellation of the Trump presidency and the Trump movement as one of the major risks to my people both in my district and all throughout this great country,” Gaetz said in an interview with Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon on his “War Room Pandemic” podcast.
When asked whether he would “step down from Congress in order to defend the President,” Gaetz responded that he “absolutely” would, in order to make sure Trump received a “full-throated defense that wasn’t crouched down.”
“Absolutely, if the President called me and wanted me to go defend him on the floor of the Senate, that would be the top priority in my life,” Gaetz said. “I would leave my house seat, I would leave my home I would do anything I had to do to ensure that the greatest president in my lifetime, one of the greatest presidents our country has ever had maybe the greatest president our country’s ever had got a full-throated defense that wasn’t crouched down, that wasn’t in fear of losing some moderate republican senator, but that was worthy of the fight that he gave to the great people of this country for four years.”
The Florida lawmaker said that he and other unnamed GOP House members “checked” to see if they could represent Trump during the Senate impeachment trial, but was told by the House ethics that they could not do so as “sitting members of the House go and defend him in the Senate.”
The comments come after Trump announced a new legal defense team late Sunday night after five attorneys parting ways with the former president due to disagreement over strategy. Attorneys David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. will head his impeachment defense and will argue based on the 14-page response to the House’s impeachment pre-trial brief that Trump cannot be convicted by the Senate because he is no longer in office with the House article being flawed because it includes multiple allegations in a single charge.
Gaetz, one of Trump’s most fierce defenders in the House blasted fellow GOP colleagues who voted to impeach Trump last month for the second time. Democrats in the House, joined by 10 Republicans voted to impeach Trump for a second time in a 232-197 vote on the charge of “incitement of insurrection” for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney was among the 10 who voted in favor of impeaching Trump, leading to civil war breaking out amongst the party.
House conservatives are looking to oust Cheney who is the No. 3 House Republican and highest-ranking woman in GOP leadership from her conference chairwoman position. Gaetz is leading calls to remove Cheney from the conference as well as leading the efforts to remove her from Congress. Last week, the Florida lawmaker traveled to Cheney home turf of Wyoming, holding a rally where he called for her ouster.
“Our battle is no longer just Republican vs. Democrat, it’s not just red team versus blue team. Absolutely not — we’ve got to put America first… that’s why I’m here,” Gaetz said at the rally he held in Wyoming last Thursday. “Liz Cheney is a lot like Congress, deeply unpopular and owned by special interests.”
“The truth is that the establishment in both political parties have teamed up to screw our fellow Americans for generations. The private insider club of Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, Nancy Pelosi, and Liz Cheney, they want to return our government to its default setting: enriching them,” Gaetz added.
House Republicans are set to meet Wednesday to discuss Cheney’s future in leadership.