Via America’s Lawyer: Beleaguered FL representative Matt Gaetz is pulling out all the stops to salvage his hopes for political candidacy after being financially tied to sex trafficking. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to convince his supporters, that he’s an innocent man, but all this spending might be a complete waste. Joining me to talk about this is Farron Cousins. Farron, as I look at this, you know, I don’t know who’s less popular this week. The Academy Awards production people or Matt Gaetz, the numbers are dismal on both of them. But this guy, he’s in a free fall right now. He’s trying to spend his way out of it. What, what’s your take?

Farron Cousins:                  It, it’s really interesting what Matt Gaetz is doing right now, because obviously when there’s a scandal you spend, spend, spend, so you can spin it. But Gaetz is in a district where he doesn’t have to spin it, right? This is a deep red district that already, according to polls, they still support him. So why is he spending, you know, $116,000 on direct mail advertising here in district one? It’s because he understands that he has always had many primary opponents, some of them, you know, kind of little wacky, but some of them serious contenders and those people are chomping at the bit to come at Matt Gaetz in next year’s GOP primary using this scandal as a way to finally take him down and overtake that seat.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. Okay. So the, one thing I think is interesting is, his TV ads are fight back. You’re the victim, I’m Matt Gaetz and you’re the victim because everybody’s lying to you. And he goes after CNN, which, you know, I get it. CNN, there’s more trash TV on CNN than you can count, but CNN is not really going after him here.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             I don’t get that whole connection. He’s saying fight back. You’re the victim because CNN is lying to you and they always lie to you. MSNBC, he’s targeting them, I think. Roger Stone, he has Roger Stone doing all of this. It’s the weirdest, it’s the weirdest scenario.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And you go to Roger Stone when you’re desperate, right? We, we’ve seen that in the past. That is what Roger Stone does best. But again, I think he’s using the CNN bit as a scapegoat, because like you said, CNN is not going after him too hard. But if he draws people’s attention to say the Daily Beast, that’s breaking a lot of these stories, that has all those Venmo receipts, suddenly his supporters might say, well, well, what is the daily beast? Let me go look at, oh my God, this looks even worse. So he is trying to misdirect people like, go be mad at CNN, and I’m the victim and I’m with you. And they’re going to come after you next, is one thing he said too.

Mike Papantonio:             And the whole CNN thing has been set up fake news, you know, and they’ve had to make so many apologies about their reporting. So he’s, he’s trying to capitalize on that. Interesting, his legal fees, he’s $85,000 in legal fees at this point. And it’s just started because I mean, what he’s looking at is sex trafficking. And if it goes bad, we’re talking about a lot of time in the clink, right?

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. Absolutely. And that’s the whole point of, you know, all of this may be for nothing. He may be spending all this money on advertising when, depending on the outcome of this, he may not even be able to run for office this time next year. So this is going to be really fun to see how it plays out.

Mike Papantonio:             And interesting thing, he’s got, he’s having these fundraisers and the folks in DC, his people that he doesn’t get along with, he says, I don’t really have any friends in DC. It’s pretty obvious.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             They’re not sending him any money because he can use his, he can use his campaign contributions for his legal fees. Most people don’t understand that.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.