Will the primaries for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination be run at least partially out of prison?
With Donald Trump facing new legal threats after the Manhattan district attorney convened a special grand jury in his investigation of the ex-president and his real estate business, that’s incredibly a very real possibility.
There is another potential candidate — for both prison and the nomination — waiting in the wings, however, if Trump decides against running for a second term (or third term in his own twisted thinking that refuses to acknowledge his loss to Joe Biden).
Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL), still declaring his innocence of the allegations that he transported a minor across state lines for unlawful carnal knowledge, intimated yesterday that he is ready to jump into the GOP race if his adored patron, Donald Trump, decides not to (or, unmentioned by Gaetz, he is prevented from doing so due to the long prison sentence that He may be facing.)
“I support Donald Trump for president. I’ve directly encouraged him to run and he gives me every indication he will,” Gaetz reportedly told The New York Post in a text message. “If Trump doesn’t run, I’m sure I could defeat whatever remains of Joe Biden by 2024.”
That’s a remarkably cocky statement coming from someone whose alleged co-conspirator in the sex trafficking scheme — his former wingman, Florida tax collector Joel Greenberg — has already turned state’s witness and whose former girlfriend is also cooperating with federal prosecutors.
Perhaps he’s still intoxicated from the fumes of his recent rallies held in conjunction with another of the GOP’s most reviled and QAnon-steeped right-wing lawmakers, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).
While many people would see Rep. Gaetz’s statement as delusional at best, according to The New York Post a source “familiar with Gaetz’s thinking” believes that his expressed interest in running for the GOP presidential nomination may be a feint designed to actually help his close Florida ally, GOP Governor Ron DeSantis.
“’He [DeSantis] might like someone else on the debate stage who can torch his opponents and lay down ground cover for him,’ the source said, adding that Gaetz ‘clearly been vetted and smeared like a presidential candidate,’” The Post reports.
One would think that by the time that the 2024 Republican National Convention rolls around that any potential charges against Congressman Gaetz will have already led to an indictment, so perhaps his aid might not be so welcome.
Still, if a prime qualification for any future Republican presidential nominee is the ability to loudly proclaim your innocence of the criminal charges that you are alleged to have committed — a not-unlikely scenario given the field of prospective candidates so far — then Gaetz has been proving his mettle in that regard since the accusations against him initially surfaced.
Original reporting by Juliegrace Brufke at The New York Post.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.