- Florida congressman Matt Gaetz tweeted that the FBI should be defunded, then deleted it after one minute.
- A Gaetz spokesperson told Vice that the congressman had made and deleted a “jocular tweet.”
- The FBI is currently investigating Gaetz to find out if he participated in sex trafficking.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Controversial Florida congressman Matt Gaetz tweeted that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) should be defunded, then deleted his tweet a minute later.
“If Democrats want to defund the police, they should start with the FBI,” wrote Gaetz on Wednesday.
The tweet was caught by nonprofit Propublica’s Politwoops, a platform that tracks deleted tweets from politicians.
A Gaetz spokesman told Vice that Gaetz “felt it appropriate to remove a jocular tweet taken from a speech some time ago.”
Calls to defund the police gained traction on social media following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Gaetz has been a vocal critic of the progressive movement, tweeting on June 11 last year that defunding the police made America a “Woketopia.”
The Florida congressman’s calls to defund the police come while he remains under FBI investigation. The agency is looking to find out whether or not he paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl and broke federal sex trafficking laws.
Most recently, Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg pleaded guilty to six charges, including sex trafficking, wire fraud, identity theft, stalking, and conspiracy. Per his plea deal, Greenberg agreed to cooperate with prosecutors on related cases.
Gaetz has been linked to Greenberg, but the congressman vehemently denied the allegations against him and instead accused the Justice Department of attempted extortion. Gaetz has also attempted to deflect said accusations, saying in May that he was “being falsely accused of exchanging money for naughty favors.”
While this ongoing FBI investigation around Gaetz continues, he has launched several salvos at the Bureau. On Newsmax, Gaetz alleged that the FBI had a role in “organizing and participating” in the January 6 Capitol riot.
Gaetz posted on June 17 as well that he was leading the charge from the GOP to “demand transparency on the FBI’s involvement during the January 6 riot.”