Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is backtracking on his personal threat to President Donald Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen, apologizing to the ex-attorney and admitting he crossed the line.
“I want to say publicly what I’ve said privately to Michael Cohen and to his family, that I’m sorry if ― it is entirely appropriate to test the truthfulness of a witness, but that could have been done in a way that didn’t invoke someone’s family, and I shouldn’t have done it,” he told Fox News on Friday.
Controversy unfolded Tuesday when Gaetz, in a now-deleted tweet that placed him under investigation by Florida’s bar association, insinuated that Cohen had a stash of paramours he kept hidden from his wife:
Hey @MichaelCohen212 – Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…
“I made a mistake,” Gaetz conceded. “I should not have invoked someone’s family and I am here to take responsibility and to say that I’m sorry.”
The lawmaker then slammed The Atlantic’s Eward-Isaac Dovere for claiming that Gaetz received a phone call from Trump to discuss Cohen’s testimony and his threat.
Dovere reported the alleged detail in a tweet Thursday, writing that Gaetz could be heard telling Trump, “I was happy to do it for you. You just keep killing it.”
Contrary to Dovere’s post, Gaetz said he was speaking with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, to whom he was making a recommendation on Orlando’s airport board.
Gaetz claims to have proof of the call, but Dovere noted the lawmaker wouldn’t discuss calls with Trump.
Though Gaetz called for a retraction of the story, there appears to be no Atlantic article on the matter at present, only Dovere’s tweets.
Dovere pointed out on Saturday that the congressman only offered his account of what occurred more than 24 hours after being asked to explain, and without initially “denying what was posed then.”
Gaetz told Fox News that Cohen has accepted his apology.