Matt Gaetz deletes tweet about defunding FBI amid ongoing agency sex trafficking probe

A Gaetz spokesperson said the Congressman "felt it appropriate to remove a jocular tweet"

Published June 24, 2021 8:58PM (EDT)

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Embattled Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., sent out a tweet Wednesday calling for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be defunded — despite the fact that he is currently being probed by the agency over sex trafficking allegations. 

He almost immediately deleted the tweet, which was captured by Propublica's "Politwoops," a website dedicated to capturing the deleted tweets of politicians. 

"If Democrats want to defund the police, they should start with the FBI," Gaetz wrote.

A spokesman for the staunch Trump ally later would tell Vice News that Gaetz "felt it appropriate to remove a jocular tweet taken from a speech some time ago."

The statement comes as the lawmaker remains under investigation by the FBI over allegations he paid to have sex with a 17-year-old-girl.

The months-long probe reportedly hinges on the testimony of Gaetz associate and fellow Florida politico Joel Greenberg, who pleaded guilty to felony charges of sex trafficking a minor in a separate federal case.

Gaetz has long denied any wrongdoing and maintained that he and his family are the victims of an extortion plot stemming from the allegations.

"On March 16, my father got a text message demanding a meeting wherein a person demanded $25 million in exchange for making horrible sex trafficking allegations against me go away," Gaetz told Fox News host Tucker Carlson when the news of the scandal first broke. "Our family was so troubled by that; we went to the local FBI. The FBI and the Department of Justice were so concerned about this attempted extortion of a member of Congress that they asked my dad to wear a wire, which he did, with the former Department of Justice official."

By Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo was an investigative reporter at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo.

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Brief Fbi Federal Bureau Of Investigation Joel Greenberg Matt Gaetz Politics Twitter