Political arsonist Matt Gaetz has new powers. What will he do with them? Missed-news

Two years ago, The New York Times reported that Mr. Gaetz was the subject of a Justice Department investigation into allegations that the congressman had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid her to travel with him, a violation of federal laws. sex trafficking laws. Gaetz denied the allegation and has not been charged.

Last month, Joel Greenberg, a Florida tax collector and Gaetz confidant who has been cooperating with the sex trafficking investigation, was sentenced to 11 years in prison. It is unclear what the sentence means for Mr. Gaetz, whose lawyers tried and did not hear from the Justice Department whether the case is still active or closed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gaetz has moved on, as quick as ever to offend. Last summer he told a conference of conservative college students that abortion supporters are less likely to get pregnant because they are unattractive. “Nobody wants to get you pregnant if you look like a thumb,” he said. “These people are hateful inside and out. They’re like 5-2, 350 pounds, and they’re like, ‘Give me my abortions or I’ll get up and march and protest.’”

However, it can be just as quick to surprise as it is to repel. He has received praise from animal rights groups for his opposition to federally funded animal testing. Colleagues on the House Armed Services Committee say they find him a productive member, and he was recently seen in the House having a lengthy conversation with Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Texas Republican and former Navy SEAL. , on how to provide access for veterans. to psychoactive drugs.

During votes in the House chamber, he tends to sit alone, with no visible signs of discontent. Gaetz’s friends say three stints of political experience on Capitol Hill, plus his 2021 marriage to Ginger Luckey, a sales analyst he met the previous year at Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald J. Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla., have matured the congressman’s political approach and the way he conducts his personal life.

Fellow Republicans remember how quickly Gaetz sought to gratify himself in 2017, his first year in Congress, under President Paul D. Ryan; how, at a dinner Ryan hosted for new members, Gaetz showed exaggerated concern over a minor sports injury Mr. Ryan had sustained at his hand.

Mr. Gaetz also displayed prowess as a lawyer when it came to cajoling the House Steering Committee into giving him a seat on the Armed Services Committee. But he could also be rude, such as when he would flaunt his sexual conquests and even display photos of them on the floor of the house, according to one member.

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