A text of apology sent by Representative Matt Gaetz [R-FL] to Michael Cohen reads, in part, “I’m sorry for the tweet I sent.” That text, and Michael Cohen’s response, were obtained by Vanity Fair.
The text was sent Wednesday evening, after Michael Cohen had spent five hours testifying about his former boss, President Donald Trump, in front of the House Oversight Committee. The previous evening, Gaetz, one of the president’s fiercest defenders, had tweeted: “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…”
The now deleted tweet was roundly criticized as an obvious effort at witness tampering.
Gaetz was part of the audience at the committee hearing on Wednesday, at times seen glaring at Cohen, after taking to the floor of the House on Tuesday to defend himself. He opined that it was “entirely appropriate for any member of this body to challenge the truthfulness, veracity and character of people who have a history of lying and have a future that undoubtedly contains nothing but lies.”
He doubled down on his tweet, telling reporters that he was “witness testing, not witness tampering” and “this is what it looks like to compete in the marketplace of ideas”. However, his attitude seemed to change after the Florida Bar Association confirmed to the Daily Beast that an inquiry into whether Gaetz had broken any ethics guidelines had been opened and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement about the matter.
Gaetz responded to Speaker Pelosi, saying it was not his intent to threaten Michael Cohen.
The apology to Michael Cohen begins, “Mr. Cohen, this is Congressman Matt Gaetz. I am writing to personally tell you I’m sorry for the tweet that I sent which many believe was threatening to you.” He continued, “It was never ever ever my intent to threaten you in any way. While you don’t know me, that is not who I am and how I operate. I do not wish any harm to you or your family. I was upset at what was transpiring and chose my words poorly. I will work to be better, as I know you said today you will as well. Have a good evening. – Matt.”
Cohen responded graciously, “Congressman Gaetz, I cannot thank you enough for your message. The tweet, sadly, has only made a bad situation worse . . . not only for my wife but for my children as well. With your permission, I would like to share your message with my wife and children. Hopefully, it will bring a little peace to their damaged life. We all make mistakes especially in this crazy partisan time. Thank you again for your text and I hope that the tweet does not cause you any harm. If it does, and there is anything I can do to help you correct it, please feel free to reach out and I would be happy to assist.”
Gaetz announced that he had publicly apologized to Cohen and stated that family members should be off-limits from attacks.
Why It Matters
If Congressman Gaetz’s witness “testing” was the first example of poor decision making from individuals associated with the Trump administration, perhaps he would be deserving of being given the benefit of the doubt.
However, one must take into consideration that Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, has been charged with witness tampering while out on bond, awaiting his trial. And that he joined Mike Flynn, Rick Gates, and George Papadopoulos, all Trump campaign associates, in pleading guilty for lying to prosecutors.
Roger Stone found himself making a special trip to court in order apologize to Judge Amy Berman Jackson for an Instagram photo which appeared to have cross hairs beside her head.
The words from Michael Cohen himself to the Republican members of the House Oversight Committee perhaps best sum up the situation that may be facing sycophants like Matt Gaetz, who have not yet realized they are caught in the same trap that led Cohen to plead guilty to crimes committed at the behest of Individual #1, the President of the United States of America, to be sentenced to three years in prison, and to testify against his former boss in front of Congress.
“I did the same thing that you’re doing now for 10 years. I protected Mr. Trump for 10 years. The more people that follow Mr. Trump as I did blindly are going to suffer the same consequences that I’m suffering.”