Matt Gaetz says he is willing to leave his seat in Congress to defend Trump in impeachment trial

February 4, 2021
In The News

Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz said he would be willing to give up his seat in the House in order to serve on the defense team of former President Donald Trump during his second Senate impeachment trial, should Trump ask him to do so.

During an interview on Steve Bannon's "War Room Pandemic" show, Gaetz explained that he and other lawmakers had already floated the idea of volunteering to defend Trump, but were told by the House Ethics Committee they could not so so as sitting members of Congress.

Bannon then asked Gaetz, "Would you then step down from Congress? Would you resign in order to defend the president...the way you want to defend him?"

"I love my district," the congressman from Florida replied. "I love representing them, but I view this cancelation of the Trump presidency and the Trump movement as one of the major risks to my people both in my district and all throughout this great country."

"Absolutely, if the president called me and wanted me to go defend him on the floor of the Senate, that would be the top priority in my life," Gaetz continued, reiterating, "I would leave my House seat, I would leave my home, I would do anything I had to do to ensure that the greatest president in my lifetime—one of the greatest presidents our country has ever had, maybe the greatest president our country has ever had—got a full-throated defense that wasn't crouched down."

In reaction to Gaetz's comments, Democratic Rep. Brendan Boyle (Pa.) joked on Twitter, "I strongly support my colleague Matt Gaetz doing this."

President Trump was impeached by the House last month on his way out of office, on one charge of inciting an insurrection after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol building Jan. 6 following a rally where he spoke in protest of the outcome of the election won by now-President Joe Biden.

But the former president hit a stumbling block with his representation.

The Washington Examiner reported:

The former president is being represented by David Schoen and Bruce Castor. Trump announced his new counsel over the weekend after his previous legal team quit, allegedly due to a dispute over legal strategy. The former president supposedly wanted to focus his defense around the promotion of unverified claims of election fraud in the 2020 election, which have been overwhelmingly refuted in court. The attorneys wanted to address the legality of prosecuting a president who has left office.