Ari Melber Grills Matt Gaetz Over Trump Pardon Request but Gaetz Remains Absolutely Unfazed (Video)

The Florida congressman definitely isn’t going to admit he asked for a pardon on MSNBC

MSNBC host Ari Melber was celebrated by fans on social media Monday for an exchange he had with Congressman Matt Gaetz on his show. Melber pressed Gaetz hard about the accusations that he had sought a blanket pardon from Donald Trump before Trump left office.

Gaetz was first accused of doing so in April, 2021, but the accusations came back into the spotlight in 2022, when they were mentioned by three different former Trump employees who testified during the Jan. 6 committee hearings.

But Gaetz remained absolutely unfazed by the encounter, sticking to the denials he’s given for nearly 2 years, and responding to Melber’s questioning with terse answers delivered through a toothy, smug grin. You can watch that encounter above right now.

Gaetz and Melber covered a few other topics before they got to the alleged pardon request. For instance, Gatez confirmed the report of a secret set of provisions in the deal that allowed Kevin McCarthy to be elected by Republicans as speaker of the House, and that he personally saw these in writing.

But then the topic turned to the meeting Gaetz and other Trump supporters held with Trump in December 2020, to discuss the election and ways to proceed based on Trump’s false claims that the election was rigged and that he didn’t lose. The details of the meeting aren’t known but of course Trump would go on to incite the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection in an attempt to overthrow the government and remain in power.

Gaetz said he didn’t witness anything that was illegal or unconstitutional during this meeting — which again, was held to discuss plans based on outright lies about the election Trump lost — at which point Melber asked, “Then why after that meeting did you seek a pardon for yourself and others who attended that meeting?”

Gaetz denied that he did so, claiming instead that he merely was involved in discussions about potential pardons involving, among other people, Joe Exotic, but never sought one for himself. Then Melber asked “Just to be clear, you’re denying that you sought a pardon for yourself?”

“Yes, that’s correct,” Gaetz said.

Melber’s reply can’t really be paraphrased, and you should watch it at the top of the page. But the gist is, he then ran down everyone who testified during the Jan. 6 committee hearings who said Gaetz did, in fact, request that pardon. Melber noted that these people, all Republicans and former employees of the Trump White House, testified under oath that it happened, including White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who was the first to make the accusation.

“Can you really say all of them are committing perjury, lying on you, A, and B, if a pardon was requested, why not just tell us what you were worried about, what was it that you thought you and others might be indicted for?”

“Well Cassidy Hutchinson is a known liar,” Gaetz responded.

Later in the segment Melber grilled Gaetz on his decision to vote against certifying the 2020 election even after the Jan. 6 attack, though once again Gaetz remained wholly unfazed by Melber’s attempts to make him admit to any wrongdoing or bad faith. Melber also asked him about the sex crimes accusations, which Gaetz denied as he has done ever since they first became public.