'Matt Gaetz Wants to "Date" Your Child,' Says Billboard

Florida congressman takes increasing heat over DoJ probe
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2021 12:00 AM CDT
Updated Apr 9, 2021 4:00 AM CDT
Billboard Says 'Matt Gaetz Wants to 'Date' Your Child'
In this Feb. 2, 2018, file photo Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., speaks during a news conference outside of the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

The Matt Gaetz controversy gave an anti-Trump political action committee a reason to put up a quite controversial billboard in Florida: "Matt Gaetz wants to 'date' your child," reads the billboard paid for by the liberal Mad Dog PAC. It's a reference, of course, to the Justice Department's probe into allegations that the Republican Florida lawmaker had sex with a 17-year-old girl including paying her to travel, and that he paid for sex with other women. A former staffer for Bill Clinton's administration, Clyde Taylor, started the PAC; he tweeted a photo of the billboard to Gaetz and asked how he liked it, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. The congressman has not publicly responded. The Daily Beast reports that Gaetz allegedly sent $900 to friend and accused sex trafficker Joel Greenberg in May 2018 via Venmo, and Greenberg then sent the same amount to three young women via the app, including at least one teenager.

Meanwhile Thursday, female aides in Gaetz's office issued a statement defending him, the Hill reports. They say they support him and have never seen him act inappropriately, and they note that he has empowered women to rise up the ranks in his office. The statement, which is not signed with any specific names, notes that the staffers have traveled with him and tracked his schedule and have seen "no hint of impropriety. No ounce of untruthfulness." But the New York Times reports Gaetz's legislative director abruptly resigned last Friday, reportedly because of the scandal; he's the second senior aide to the congressman to abruptly resign recently. Also Thursday, Adam Kinzinger became the first Republican congressman to call on Gaetz to resign, CNN reports. (Greenberg is expected to cooperate with authorities, which could be bad news for Gaetz.)

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