Matt Gaetz, Now Under DOJ Investigation, Was Lone Vote Against Human Trafficking Bill in 2017

It’s not a great look for the Florida Republican

Last Updated: March 30, 2021 @ 5:24 PM

With the news that Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz is under investigation from the Department of Justice for potentially violating federal sex trafficking laws, it’s time to remember that Gaetz cast the singular “no” vote on a human trafficking bill back in 2017.

A report from Orlando Weekly, written in December 2017, revealed that Gaetz had cast the one “no” vote on the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act — a bill that aimed to give the federal government more resources to fight sex trafficking incidents. Despite Gaetz’s feeble attempt at pushback in the House, it passed unanimously through the U.S. Senate.

During a Facebook Live that took place shortly after the vote, Gaetz — in a video titled “Why I stood alone on a recent vote” — addressed the situation by explaining “unless there is an overwhelming, compelling reason that our existing agencies in the federal government can’t handle that problem, I vote no because voters in Northwest Florida did not send me to Washington to go and create more federal government. If anything, we should be abolishing a lot of the agencies at the federal level like the Department of Education, like the EPA and sending that power back to our state governments.”

Let’s be honest: this wouldn’t be a great look in any situation. But it’s definitely not a great look considering that Gaetz is now being accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old he paid to travel.

According to reports, Gaetz defended the allegations against him, telling Axios, “I have definitely, in my single days, provided for women I’ve dated. You know, I’ve paid for flights, for hotel rooms. I’ve been, you know, generous as a partner. I think someone is trying to make that look criminal when it is not.”

Gaetz has been making the rounds when it comes to headlines: earlier this week, news broke that he was considering leaving Congress in an early retirement to take a gig at Newsmax.