Gaetz claims DeSantis missed opportunity to defend Trump over indictment

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks as he arrives for a closed-door meeting with the GOP Conference at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Gaetz claims DeSantis missed opportunity to defend Trump over indictment

Misty Severi

March 24, 08:31 PM March 24, 08:31 PM

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) missed his chance to defend former President Donald Trump as a possible indictment looms.

Gaetz said the potential felony charge against Trump was actually a “misdemeanor parading around as a felony,” and he called it a “misdemeanor in drag.”


“When there is a request to extradite someone, the governor actually has a role to play to determine the sufficiency of the charge,” Gaetz told the Floridian.

“Is someone actually being charged with a felony? That is the constitutional standard. I don’t believe this is facially a felony charge. It is a misdemeanor in drag. The governor doesn’t like drag shows, so maybe we shouldn’t be for a misdemeanor parading around in drag as a felony? I think he can do more, and I think this was a missed opportunity,” he added.

Gaetz previously stated that DeSantis should be ready to stop an extradition of the former president.

“If I were governor of Florida, I would not allow any Floridian to be hauled before a Soros-backed prosecutor in a blue city over politics. I wouldn’t make an exception to not protect the president of the United States,” Gaetz said.

“Ron DeSantis should be standing in the breach to stop any sort of extradition of President Trump from the state of Florida. The fact that he’s not doing so puts every Floridian at risk who could be the subject of a false allegation,” he continued.

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Gaetz said on Friday he believes the former president will be politically stronger if he does get arrested in relation to alleged hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016. A grand jury was expected to vote on Trump’s possible indictment this week, but the proceedings were canceled, and the jury focused on other cases.

“Politically, I think it will make Trump stronger,” Gaetz admitted. “At times, Trump’s magic is that when he is embattled, he is able to expose some [of] the worse things in our government that need reform.”

Gaetz also said he is concerned that the potential indictment of Trump would weaken the United States’s “moral authority” in the world. The arrest would be the first time a former U.S. president had been indicted.

Gaetz’s comments come as the Republican Party prepares for the 2024 presidential election. DeSantis is perceived as Trump’s only strong challenger for the Republican nomination. However, DeSantis has not yet announced a bid for the White House. A final decision on his candidacy is expected in the summer.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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