Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz was trolled by social media users after the House Select Committee tasked with investigating the Capitol riot of January 6, 2021 revealed that he was one of at least five members of Congress who attempted to secure pardons from then-President Donald Trump for their part in attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 general election.
According to Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Gaetz aimed for a pardon much broader than those requested by his cohort and that he had pushed for one since early December.
Former White House senior adviser Eric Herschmann told the committee Gaetz requested a pardon "for any and all things," a sign Gaetz wanted a pardon in relation to the ongoing federal child sex trafficking investigation against him.
Gaetz took to Twitter to slam the committee as "an unconstitutional political sideshow" shortly after the news broke.
He suggested it is now resorting to "siccing federal law enforcement on political opponents."
But Twitter users did not take the bait and resoundingly mocked him for his obvious deflection.
Gaetz's commentary reflects his own controversial past involving women, particularly an ongoing federal investigation regarding alleged sex crimes involving a minor.
Federal authorities are investigating Gaetz on child sex trafficking charges after it emerged the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched a probe into whether he paid a 17-year-old girl and took her across state lines for sexual purposes.
Gaetz denied allegations he violated sex trafficking laws and engaged in other sexual misconduct while in office by citing the age of consent. His supporters in Congress, particularly Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, have pushed back against the investigation even while they brand other Republican politicians as "pro-pedophile."
In May 2021, Gaetz's associate Joel Greenberg, a former tax collector in Seminole County, Florida, formally pleaded guilty to six federal charges, including sex trafficking of a minor.
He also pleaded guilty to producing a false identification document, identity theft, wire fraud, stalking and conspiracy.
Last year, Politico reported that Trump and his allies have reportedly chosen to distance themselves from Gaetz after news of the DOJ's investigation emerged.
Trump also denied Gaetz directly asked him for a blanket pardon after The New York Timesreported Gaetz met with him and his associates.