For someone in Congress, making arguments is not one of Rep. Matt Gaetz‘s strong suits.
The Florida Congressman is constantly talking out of his mouth without any context or tact to a particular topic and it always suggests racist inclinations on his part. He recently proved this when he came after Howard University for being listed as one school to receive money in a $2 trillion coronavirus-related stimulus package. The bill for the package, which was passed by the Senate and awaits votes from the House, listed Howard as receiving $13 million of the $2 trillion so that their hospital can respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The bill also said money would go to the needs of the school and students because of the coronavirus.
This obviously didn’t make Gaetz happy because he tweeted, “$13,000,000 in taxpayer funds could be going to families across the nation struggling to put food on the table in the midst of COVID-19. Instead, it’s going to Howard University.”
Eventually, Sen. Kamala Harris had to respond, tweeting, “The bill provides $30 billion to protect students and help schools, colleges and universities combat the coronavirus. This is $13 million.” She continued, “$13 million = .04% of $30 billion.” Considering the small percentage Howard University, a Historically Black College, is receiving, Harris questioned Gaetz, “Why do you take issue with money going to Howard, Congressman?”
This was not the first time a Black Congress member had to shut up Gaetz.
Back in December 2019, the House Judiciary Committee held hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump. He was accused of interfering with the 2020 presidential elections by influencing Ukraine to investigate his political opponent Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Many of Trump’s supporters believed Biden and his son were trying to influence Ukraine’s foreign policy back when Biden was vice president to Barack Obama and when Hunter joined the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings.
Gaetz, himself a Trump loyalist, tried to deflect attention away from Trump during the hearings by going after Hunter’s reported substance abuse problems. Hoping to add an amendment to the articles of impeachment mentioning Hunter, Gaetz read a passage from a New Yorker article covering an incident in which Hunter was in a crash while driving a rental car. According to the article, the Hertz rental officer on the scene said he discovered a crack pipe in the vehicle and white powder residue.
“I don’t want to make light of anybody’s substance abuse issues,” Gaetz unconvincingly said. “But it’s a little hard to believe that Burisma hired Hunter Biden to resolve their international disputes when he could not resolve his own dispute with Hertz rental car over leaving cocaine and a crack pipe in the car.”
The low blow caused Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia to bring up the time Gaetz caught a DUI back in 2008. According to the Tampa Bay Times, a 26-year-old Gaetz was driving back from an Okaloosa Island nightclub called Swamp when an officer caught him going 48 in a 35 miles per hour zone. According to the officer, Gaetz was pulled over in a BMW SUV registered to his state senator father and he fumbled for his license and registration. He also had bloodshot and watery eyes, and swayed and staggered while exiting the car, according to the report. Ultimately Gaetz refused a field sobriety tests and a breath test and was arrested.
He should have gotten his license suspended for his refusal to take the tests, according to Florida law, but somehow he was able to keep his license. The charges were also dropped.
When Gaetz had the nerve to bring up Hunter Biden’s reported substance abuse, Rep. Johnson said, “The pot calling the kettle black is not something that we should do. I don’t know what members, if any, have had any problems with substance abuse, been busted in DUI. I don’t know. But if I did, I wouldn’t raise it against anyone…. I don’t think it’s proper.”
Gaetz also went off subject in a House hearing surrounding police brutality back in September 2019. Gwen Carr, whose son Eric Garner died in a police chokehold in 2014, started off the hearing. She urged the passage of national police standards and an anti-chokehold bill, according to Newsday. Activist Al Sharpton also spoke at the hearing in support of Carr and the initiative.
Instead of focusing on the topic at hand, Gaetz decided to accuse Sharpton of past derogatory comments against Jewish and white people. Throughout, Sharpton denied certain claims and even Congress members came to his defense, like New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who said he found Gaetz’s approach “obnoxious” and not pertinent.
Clearly, the Florida representative has a problem and is completely inept at making arguments. This is an example of who can run and be elected to Congress.