One of Donald Trump's most ardent supporters has offered to give up his Congressional seat and leave his home to defend Trump during his impeachmen
One of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters has offered to give up his Congressional seat and leave his home to defend Trump during his impeachment trial if he asked, saying he would ‘be honored to’.
Matt Gaetz, a representative for Florida, said answering Trump’s call ‘would be the top priority of my life’.
The 38-year-old told a podcast hosted by Steve Bannon that in his eyes Trump was 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’.
Matt Gaetz told Steve Bannon’s podcast that he would give up his seat and home for Trump
‘I would leave my House seat, I would leave my home, I would do anything I had to do,’ he said
The 38-year-old said defending Trump would be ‘an honor’ and he was ready for the call
And he had even, he told Bannon, gone so far as to ask whether he was allowed to defend him in the Senate, as a sitting Congressman.
‘And the word we got back from House Ethics was that we could not, as sitting members of the House, go to defend him in the Senate,’ he said.
Trump’s impeachment trial begins on Monday, and his legal team is now headed up by David Schoen and Bruce Castor, after five previous legal experts quit.
Gaetz, who graduated from William and Mary Law School in Virginia and worked as a lawyer in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, said that he was ready to assist Trump if the former president needed him.
‘I love my district. I love representing them,’ he told Bannon.
‘But I view this cancellation of the Trump presidency and the Trump movement as one of the major risks to my people, both in my district and all throughout this great country.
‘Absolutely, if the president called me and wanted me to go defend him on the floor of the Senate, that would be the top priority of my life.
‘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 he gave to the great people of this country.’
Gaetz is pictured with Trump at a baseball game in Washington in October 2019
Gaetz took a selfie with Trump after the then-president’s 2018 State Of The Union
Brendan Boyle, a Congressman from Philadelphia, relished Gaetz’ resignation offer, tweeting: ‘I strongly support my colleague Matt Gaetz doing this.’
He said that he was worried Trump had so far ‘gotten a low-energy defense’.
On Monday night Schoen, one of the impeachment lawyers, said the former president had ‘nothing’ to do with the Capitol riot and warned the trial threatened to tear the country apart and damage American democracy.
The Atlanta-based lawyer, appointed by Trump on Sunday, will defend him next week in his historic second impeachment trial.
On Monday Schoen, who previously represented Jeffrey Epstein, insisted that the trial of a former president was ‘unconstitutional’.
David Schoen appeared on Fox News on Monday night to discuss the impeachment trial
Schoen said that the storming of the Capitol after Trump’s January 6 rally was not his fault
He argued further that Trump was not to blame for the insurrection on January 6, which killed four people including a Capitol Police officer.
At a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally on the morning of January 6, Trump told his followers: ‘We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.’
Schoen said: ‘He condemned violence at all times. Read the words of his speech. It calls for peacefulness.
‘This has nothing to do with President Trump and the country doesn’t need to just watch videos of riots and unrest. We need to heal now. We need to move forward.’
Schoen, who will represent Trump along with Castor, the former district attorney in Pennsylvania who declined to prosecute Bill Cosby, said the impeachment case was ‘the most ill-advised legislative action that I’ve seen in my lifetime.’
He added: ‘It is tearing the country apart at a time when we don’t need anything like that.’
Schoen said the the process was being made a mockery because those involved had already made up their minds, before it had even started, and strongly criticized the ‘awful bias and prejudgment shown.’
He continued: ‘Could you imagine any American citizen considered to be on trial, in which the judge and jury has already announced publicly the defendant must be convicted in this case?
‘It undercuts democracy. How could you possibly have a fair trial? Senator Schumer promised a fair and full trial. You can’t when you know that they are biased going in.’
Trump was impeached by the House on January 13.
He appears highly likely to be cleared, for a second time, by the Senate after a procedural vote showed that Republicans were unlikely to convict him.
On January 26 the Senate was asked whether they wanted impeachment to proceed.
The Senate voted 55-45, meaning that impeachment will go ahead.
But it showed that regardless of what happens in the trial, there almost certainly won’t be enough Republican support to convict Trump: conviction would require 67 votes, or two-thirds of the Senate.