Florida Republican congressman Matt Gaetz is in the crosshairs of the Lincoln Project, an organization created by Republicans to oppose Trump’s re-election campaign in 2020.
They released a video ad on Tuesday mocking Gaetz and calling him out for his public remarks at a conference of young conservatives in Tampa last weekend, in which he ridiculed women protesting abortion access. His speech has been roundly criticized across the country and on social media.
“Why is it that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions?” Gaetz told the crowd. “Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb.”
In the ad, which includes footage from his speech at the Turning Point USA Summit in Tampa, a female narrator asks: “Matt, you seem like a guy that enjoys spending time with a woman. So why are you so angry at them? Are you mad because you have to pay for sex? Allegedly.”
The allegations about paying for sex are a reference to the ongoing federal investigation into Gaetz, who is accused of paying a 17-year-old girl for sex. The Republican congressman has denied the allegations and previously said they were part of an extortion plot. No charges have been brought against him.
The Lincoln Project said the ad was being targeted in Gaetz’s home district in northwestern Florida and to his major campaign donors.
In its statement announcing the ad, Lincoln Project co-founder and veteran GOP strategist Rick Wilson slammed Gaetz as a “longtime Venmo fan, alleged teen prostitute aficionado, and all-around jackhole Congressman.”
“Matt Gaetz is one of the biggest tools in Congress and a standout among the weirdest and most ridiculous members of the MAGA mutant parade,” said Wilson. “As we say in the South, that boy wasn’t raised right.”
On Monday, Gaetz told a Pensacola TV reporter he stood by his remarks.
When asked if he was “suggesting that these women at these abortion rallies are ugly and overweight?”, Gaetz replied: “Yes.”
When the WEAR-TV reporter asked: What do you say to people who think that those comments are offensive?” asked.
“Be offended,” he said.
Gaetz is facing multiple challengers for the Republican nomination in Mark Lombardo and Greg Merk for his congressional seat in the Florida Panhandle. The winner will face either Rebekah Jones or Pegg Schiller in the general election in November. But the district is among the most Republican in the state, meaning the GOP primary winner is all but certain to win the seat in November.
Joel Valdez, communications director for Matt Gaetz for Congress campaign, dismissed one of his GOP primary opponents and called the Lincoln Project ad “liberal propaganda.”
“Mark Lombardo’s consultants at the Lincoln Project could’ve saved time by burning a pile of cash instead,” said “Voters in Northwest Florida know liberal propaganda when they see it.”
Sergio Bustos is Enterprise/Politics Editor for Florida’s Gannett/USA Today Network. He’s based in South Florida. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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