U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz on Tuesday pushed back on a liberal media outlet after it posted claims he had not been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Business Insider reworked a hit piece on Gaetz that included claims from his Republican primary opponent Mark Lombardo that Gaetz, whom he accused of being a “pedophile,” had not been publicly endorsed by Trump or GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Trump or DeSantis have not endorsed Matt Gaetz. Have they in the past? Yes. Have they now? The answer is no. And the reason for that is that they can’t afford the branding issue. The branding issue of being associated with a pedophile,” Lombardo told Business Insider on Tuesday.
Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican, posted on Twitter a screenshot of the story, which reported, “Gaetz, an ardent Trump supporter, has not received a formal endorsement from Trump or DeSantis in this election cycle. Trump endorsed him in 2018.”
Gaetz responded by posting a video that he said showed Trump endorsing him at Mar-a-Lago in April 2022.
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In the 15-second clip, Trump tells Gaetz, who is standing nearby, “We’re with you all the way.”
“He does an incredible job,” the former president continued. “He’s brave. He’s strong. He’s smart. And people love him, and they get it. They get it.”
“And not that he needs my endorsement, but he has an endorsement from me — 100 percent endorsement.”
After Gaetz called the story “patently false” and demanded a correction, Business Insider apparently updated its article, without noting the correction.
On Tuesday night, it read, “Trump has not sent out a written endorsement of Gaetz, as he typically does for high-profile endorsements through his official communication channels. He however told attendees at a private fundraiser in April for the Florida lawmaker’s reelection that Gaetz had his ‘full endorsement.’ He also recently heaped praise on Gaetz during a keynote address at CPAC, where he told the crowd that Gaetz ‘fights for freedom’ and is a ‘great guy.’ Trump endorsed him in 2018.”
The odd thing about the inaccurate reporting was that Business Insider quoted Lombardo slamming Gaetz as a “pedophile.”
Setting aside the borderline libel against Gaetz, Lombardo, a former FedEx executive, has hired a Washington, D.C.-based political consultant, Steve Hazelton, who is closely connected with The Lincoln Project.
The Lincoln Project is a left-wing, admitted “Never Republican” group whose founder, John Weaver, fled the group in disgrace after reports surfaced that he had sought to groom nearly two dozen young men to trade sex for potential jobs in politics – including one he started grooming at age 14.
Weaver’s conduct was so egregious that one of his former Lincoln Project associates dubbed him a “predator.”
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Free Press.