Over the past several weeks, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida has faced a dizzying number of controversial accusations, including an investigation by the Department of Justice into potential sex trafficking charges.
On Thursday, April 8, Gaetz's office attempted to defend him by issuing a statement from "The Women of U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz's Office."
Though the statement was sent to the press by Jillian Wyant, Gaetz's female Chief of Staff, it was unsigned by any of the women who work for the Congressman.
Calling them "The Women of..." as if they were a 1980s Penthouse spread is definitely making your case. https://t.co/d1VbjCU309— Mark Harris (@Mark Harris) 1617907063.0
@scottwongDC possibly it's a band name?— Josh Marshall (@Josh Marshall) 1617906037.0
The unsigned statement read:
"After the shocking allegations last week in the press, we, the women of Congressman Matt Gaetz's office, feel morally obligated to speak out. During Congressman Gaetz's time in office, we have been behind the scenes every step of the way. We have staffed his meetings. We have planned his events. We have traveled with him."
"And we have tracked his schedule. Congressman Gaetz has always been a principled and morally grounded leader. At no time has any one of us experienced or witnessed anything less than the utmost professionalism and respect. No hint of impropriety. No ounce of untruthfulness."
"In our office and under Congressman Gaetz's leadership, women are not only respected, but have been encouraged time and time again to grow, achieve more, and ultimately, know our value. Many of us started in entry-level positions and have been promoted to positions of leadership within the office. In our professional ecosystem, women are given every opportunity to advance and utilize our talents to help the country in the best possible way."
"On every occasion he has treated each and every one of us with respect. Thus, we uniformly reject these allegations as false."
"Congressman Gaetz will continue to lead by example and stand for the people of America who have been maligned by the liberal elite. And we will stand with him. While we recognize the scrutiny we will face for making this decision, we take comfort in the hope that more Americans and elected officials will stand up and refuse to remain silent."
Not a single one was willing to put their names to this statement. https://t.co/Bei7trtnZz— Max Steele (@Max Steele) 1617905728.0
This statement was not signed by any staffers, and it did not specify how many women in Gaetz's office had signed o… https://t.co/7rdgLJJgUx— Mike Brest (@Mike Brest) 1617908097.0
He is under investigation by the FBI and the DOJ. They can reject the allegations, but they can't reject the fact… https://t.co/3JdgYtr5lZ— Machine Pun Kelly (@Machine Pun Kelly) 1617906582.0
Typically, statements of this type include a list of signatories for an extra measure of accountability, but that was not the case this time for some reason.
.@repMattGaetz creates and publishes his own "breaking news". @mattGaetz also doesn't bother to mention that not o… https://t.co/tQD3lK003X— UFB (@UFB) 1617955678.0
So the people you can hire/fire and pay money to said nice things about you? Huh..... https://t.co/SWH9xdxzCE— Jim McNumbers 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 (@Jim McNumbers 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸) 1617973283.0
Many on Twitter suspected the women in Gaetz's office had not, in fact, composed the statement and that some of them may not have agreed with it.
The women of Matt Gaetz office supposedly wrote this, but not one woman’s signature on the statement.… https://t.co/ZgV3U9zVO0— Andruew James (@Andruew James) 1617972627.0
Not one name... but sure, the “women” are speaking out. I’m sure they wrote it, too. https://t.co/FhDziYodlY— Barb & Star's BFF (@Barb & Star's BFF) 1617906310.0
Innocent people don’t ask for blanket pardons. But I repeat myself. https://t.co/5mDOARZmPp— Kimberley Johnson (@Kimberley Johnson) 1617941161.0
Many online also pointed out the conflict inherent in asking your employees to stand up for you in the public arena.
Breaking: matt doesnt just pay women for sex. He pays them to say he's a nice guy too. https://t.co/Wf3aSl98Q2— POLASEK ARCURI (@POLASEK ARCURI) 1617934862.0
@RepMattGaetz Matt you lie all the time, often and publicly. I hope this isn’t a statement you’re trying to use as… https://t.co/P6ouN1gKwJ— Mankrik’s Wife (@Mankrik’s Wife) 1617906804.0
@RepMattGaetz Hey, aren't you the guy who voted against the anti-human trafficking bill? THE ONLY GUY? Somehow, t… https://t.co/qv2b2wehwY— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@BrooklynDad_Defiant!) 1617906669.0
Even if everything in the unsigned statement is true, Gaetz could still be guilty of the charges against him.
@RepMattGaetz Very nice letter that you typed. Why didn’t any of them sign it?— Ron Filipkowski (@Ron Filipkowski) 1617915548.0
As more and more reports emerge of Gaetz's wrongdoing, it seems unlikely a single unsigned statement is going to turn the tides of the press in his favor.