Rep. Matt Goetz, former President Donald Trump’s most vocal defender in Congress, won the Republican primary in Florida’s 1st District despite criticism from his opponent and an investigation into whether he was involved in the trafficking of underage girls.
Mr. Goetz won the primary after coming under intense scrutiny from Mark Lombardo, a major challenger to his right. Mr. Lombardo, who served in the Marine Corps and has a business background, sought to turn Mr. Goetz’s best political asset in the solidly Republican district — his allegiance to Mr. Trump — into a liability.
In one ad, Mr. Lombardo emphasized how Mr. Trump has not held large rallies for Mr. Goetz, as he has for other Republicans. He also suggested that Mr. Goetz may have been the informant who tipped off federal authorities before the FBI executed a search warrant at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.
The ad also noted how Mr Goetz had hired a former lawyer for disgraced child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and pointed out how a special House committee investigating the January 6 riot revealed that Mr Goetz was asked for a blanket pardon, which Mr. Trump has not granted.
Throughout his tenure in the House, Mr. Goetz has been known for flashy and eye-catching stunts. At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, he was seen wearing a gas mask on the floor of the House. It also appeared on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones InfoWars show.
Ahead of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, he threatened to blackmail Mr Cohen, tweeting “Do your wife and father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time to have that conversation. After Rep. Jamie Raskin lost his son, Mr. Goetz said the Maryland Democrat was “incapable” of doing his job and said that “[t]the country should not go through all this with him.
During Mr. Trump’s first impeachment, Mr. Goetz led a group of Republicans to try to storm a House Intelligence Committee hearing on sensitive segregated information facilities, or SCIFs, where classified information is shared.
Mr. Gaetz also faced intense scrutiny afterward New York Times reported that the Justice Department was investigating him for trafficking teenage girls, which Mr. Getz vehemently denied.