Trump's MAGA Endorsement of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) Rebukes Allegation That He Was an FBI Informant in Mar-a-Lago Raid

AP Photo/Tony Dejak
Trump Rebukes Challenger’s Allegations

Former President Donald Trump took to Truth Social on Saturday to give a glowing endorsement of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in Florida’s 1st Congressional District ahead of Tuesday’s primary. Trump wrote that “Matt Gaetz puts America First, and he has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

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The endorsement comes just days after Gaetz’s Republican challenger, Mark Lombardo, released an ad suggesting Gaetz was an FBI informant responsible for the Mar-a-Lago raid. The ad solicits voters to accept a conspiracy theory implicating Gaetz, although there is zero evidence to support the narrative. Baiting suspicion, the ad’s voice-over asks:

“When Trump really endorses someone, he goes big. You’ve seen none of that for lyin’ Matt Gaetz. What does Trump know? Is Gaetz the informant?”

The ad goes on to tie Gaetz to an attorney of Jeffrey Epstein, along with stating the judge who approved the Mar-a-Lago search warrant was an Epstein lawyer. The 30-second spot finishes by painting Gaetz as selfish or vindictive noting he asked Trump for a pre-emptive pardon.

Trump has previously denied that Gaetz ever asked him for a pardon for himself and congressional allies, at least personally. According to the New York Times, the pardon was declined by the White House because it was thought to set a bad precedent.

Referendum on what?
Election 2020 Trump
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

On Friday, Florida Politics called the primary in CD-1 a Republican Referendum on Matt Gaetz”, concluding Lombardo will more than likely fail in the effort to convict Gaetz in the court of public opinion for salacious allegations of a relationship with an underaged girl, that surfaced last year.

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Between the deep-red district’s ire over the FBI’s search at Mar-a-Lago and the who-done-it murmurs of Trump’s inner-circle treachery, I don’t think this is shaping up to be a referendum on Gaetz, at all. Gaetz, for as controversial as he may be, is hardly the subject matter being voted on at the ballot box. This is a referendum on the DOJ’s perfectly timed Trump-targeting.

The siege at Mar-a-Lago has resulted in a re-invigoration of Trump’s MAGA base, and Trump knows it. Trump has posted multiple “Truths” on his social media platform about his boosts in the polls following the raid, including a New York Post article noting the traction in anticipation of a 2024 presidential run. And, donations to his PAC are flowing in by the millions, too.

Trump’s Proven Influence

Primaries in early voting states were seen as a testing ground for Trump’s endorsement influence after leaving the Oval Office, and he didn’t disappoint. Trump’s endorsement record since leaving office is 188 primary wins to 14 losses, with major momentum after Kari Lake’s W in Arizona and never-Trumper, Rep. Liz Cheney getting the big boot from Wyoming voters after Trump held a victory lap… I mean yuge rally… for Harriet Hageman.

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In Florida, the Lombardo campaign attempted to use Trump’s silence in the Congressional race as an indictment of Gaetz. But, betting on Trump being silent ahead of primaries in his home state is the worst bet I’ve ever heard of. Tuesday’s primary will tell the tale of Trump out-performing as a GOP king-maker; serving as a warning to candidates who pretend to have a bonafide and valuable Trump endorsement and reminder of the anti-establishment sentiments that got Trump to the White House in the first place.

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