Rep. Matt Gaetz Says He Would Resign To Defend Trump In Impeachment Trial
Gaetz told Steve Bannon, the host of War Room Pandemic podcast, that he would give up his seat in Congress if Trump requested he be a part of his legal defense.
“If the president called me and wanted me to go defend him on the floor of the Senate, that would be the top priority in my life,” Gaetz said.
“I would leave my House seat, I would leave my home, I would do anything I had to do to ensure that the greatest president in my lifetime, one of the greatest presidents our country has ever had, maybe the greatest president our country has ever had, got a full-throated defense that wasn’t crouched down, that wasn’t in fear of losing some moderate Republican senator, but that was worthy of the fight that he gave to the great people of this country for four years,” Gaetz continued.
When news broke about Gaetz’s offer to resign in order to defend the president, Rep. Brandon Boyle (D-Pennsylvania) encouraged the move, tweeting, “I strongly support my colleague Matt Gaetz doing this.”
The second impeachment trial for Trump was sparked by his insinuation to have his supporters storm the U.S. Capitol on January 6 to protest the certification of Joe Biden‘s presidential win, the House of Representatives charging him with “incitement of insurrection.”
Trump’s lawyers denied Tuesday that he was responsible for the riots at the Capitol or intended to interfere with Congress’s joint session.
His attorneys argued that his address to supporters, during which he said, “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” were protected by the First Amendment right of free speech.
They also claimed that the Constitution did not permit the Senate to try a former president after he has left office, even though the chamber has done the same for former federal officials in the past.
The bipartisan vote made Trump the first U.S. president in history to be impeached twice. At the beginning of 2019, he was impeached on two chargers over his dealings with Ukraine but was acquitted in the Republican-controlled Senate.
The House impeachment managers charged that Trump is “singularly responsible” for what took place on January 6 and sharply disagreed with the claim that he cannot be prosecuted because he left office.
“There is no ‘January exception’ to impeachment or any other provision of the Constitution,” the managers wrote on Tuesday. “A president must answer comprehensively for his conduct in office from his first day in office through his last.”
Five members of Trump’s legal team quit roughly a week before the February 9 trial date, resulting in trial lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor being named as Trump’s new defense team.
In the War Room Pandemic podcast, Gaetz claimed that there were “a few among us” that checked to see if they were allowed to defend Trump in the trial but were told no by the House Ethics Committee. “The President so far has gotten a low-energy defense.”
I'll be joining War Room Pandemic with Steve Bannon at 10:00am ET/9:00am CT
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) February 3, 2021