Florida Man Rep. Matt “Rapey McForehead” Gaetz (R-The Everglades) is still sitting on the House Judiciary Committee despite the subject of a still-open investigation for raping and sex trafficking teenage girls, which is bad enough.
But now Captain Venmo’s been forced to apologize to the family of a murder victim for inviting his accused killer to the Capitol as his personal guest to lead the Pledge of Allegiance to kick off the Judiciary Committee’s first meeting of the year.
The GOP bullies on the House committees are always looking for a reason to piss off Democrats and waste time on petty spats, so Gaetz had invited Corey Beekman, a U.S. Army National Guard combat veteran, purely for the optics of Ultra MAGA Patriotism.
Gaetz puffed up his forehead to feel big and important, and introduced Beekman as if he was General Patton:
“It is my pleasure and distinct honor to introduce to the committee Staff Sergeant Corey Ryan Beekman, an American hero and a constituent of mine residing in Pensacola, Florida,” Gaetz said.
He then went on to exalt Beekman’s “16 years of military service, his Purple Heart award, and his position on the board of a local gun club.”
That last thing is what makes this whole thing even worse because Beekman is actually an accused murderer still awaiting trial, which would’ve been easy for Gaetz’s staff to find out if any of them had bothered to ask the Google.
Beekman allegedly shot and killed Billy Buchanan, 33, inside a home in rural Mason County, Michigan, in 2019 and engaged in gunfire with police during a lengthy standoff as Buchanan’s body lay nearby.
Beekman was later charged with Billy’s murder, but his case still has not yet gone to trial.
He moved to Florida, where he clearly blended in perfectly with the locals.
Billy Buchanan’s family was retraumatized after hearing about Beekman’s invitation, especially with the images of their son’s killer in full military dress leading sitting members of Congress in the Pledge.
Denita Buchanan, Billy’s mother, told The Daily Beast that the entire thing “was like getting a dagger stuck in our heart again,” while his sister Hannah Buchanan said the family was “infuriated” when they first found out.
“I was disgusted with the whole thing,” Hannah Buchanan rightfully declared.
The Buchanans contacted Gaetz’s office, where no one had thought to check into Beekman’s background.
They’ve issued an apology and gone to lengths to scrub the incident, including deleting a tweet from Gaetz calling Beekman a hero which included footage of the committee proceeding.
They also sent the family an American flag that had flown above the Capitol.
Hannah Buchanan’s tactful response to the apology sums up how the family views Gaetz: she said they “appreciated the gesture,” adding that Gaetz’s chief of staff had called her directly and “was very apologetic.”
If Twitter users could find information about Beekman, why couldn’t Gaetz’s staff?
Also, how is Matt Gaetz still walking around free?
Follow Tara Dublin on Twitter @taradublinrocks.
Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author.
Tara is a reported opinion columnist at Occupy Democrats. She's a woefully underappreciated and unrepresented writer currently shopping for a super cool novel that has nothing to do with politics while also fighting fascism on a daily. Follow her on Twitter @taradublinrocks