Embattled U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz was turned down after reaching out to Newsmax for a potential position, a spokesperson for the network told Reuters on Monday.
“Newsmax has had no plans to hire Rep. Gaetz,” spokesperson Brian Peterson told Reuters.
Gaetz’s query came earlier this year after news broke that the Republican lawmaker was under investigation for possible sex trafficking of a 17-year-old minor, another source at Newsmax told Reuters.
“Earlier this year, (Gaetz) reached out and said he might leave Congress early and was interested in TV work,” a source familiar with Newsmax’s policies said, according to Reuters.
But Gaetz’s contact with Newsmax was “just a conversation” with management and the network “never told him we were interested” in hiring him, the source said.
Gaetz was reportedly eyeing a congressional exit and a new Newsmax gig in March, according to an Axios report, when he “privately told confidants he’s seriously considering not seeking re-election and possibly leaving Congress early for a job at Newsmax.”
Matt Gaetz has not been charged by law enforcement and has denied any wrongdoing related to the matter under investigation. Gaetz’s representatives had no comment on the Newsmax development, Reuters reported.
Joel Greenberg, a Gaetz friend and associate, recently pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor. No other suspects in the case were named by prosecutors but Greenberg has agreed to cooperate as part of a plea deal.
Gaetz, first elected in 2016, had made a name for himself with his fiery media appearances and frequent Twitter spats. He was profiled in HBO’s “The Swamp” last year and while the documentary focused on his decision not to accept money from political action committees, it also revealed how strategic his media appearances are.
Gaetz said in the film that when he does television news hits, he thinks about them in terms of inflammatory clips that will find new life online. One of the filmmakers told TheWrap last year that to that end, Gaetz “does hundreds and hundreds of television appearances each year.”
Lindsey Ellefson contributed to this report.