'Matt Gaetz needs to resign,' says GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger

Dareh Gregorian
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-FL, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington December 11, 2019.
Jose Luis Magana | Reuters

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., called for fellow Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz to resign on Thursday night amid a federal probe into allegations that Gaetz was involved in sex trafficking.

Gaetz, who has not been charged with any crime, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. He is also scheduled Friday to headline a dinner for the Women for America First group at the Trump National Doral in Florida.

"Matt Gaetz needs to resign," Kinzinger wrote in a tweet linking to a Daily Beast story about Gaetz, who's become enmeshed in an investigation into former Seminole County Tax Collector Joel Greenberg.

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Greenberg has been hit with 33 charges in federal court in Florida, including stalking, wire fraud and sex trafficking of a minor. In a brief hearing in his case in Orlando on Thursday, Greenberg's lawyer, Fritz Scheller, and federal prosecutors told the judge they expect him to strike a plea deal.

The parties did not signal if Greenberg was expected to cooperate in the investigation into Gaetz, who's denied any wrongdoing. "I'm sure Matt Gaetz isn't feeling very comfortable today," Scheller said outside the courthouse after the hearing.

Federal investigators are looking into whether Gaetz paid women to travel to the Bahamas for sex, NBC News reported Wednesday night. In a statement to CBS responding to reports about the Bahamas investigation, a spokesperson for Gaetz denied that he had ever paid for sex and called it "a general fishing exercise about vacations and consensual relationships with adults."

Investigators are also looking into whether Gaetz and Greenberg used the internet to search for women they could pay for sex. The New York Times has reported that he's being investigated for allegedly trafficking a 17-year-old.

In an op-ed in the Washington Examiner on Monday, Gaetz wrote, "Since I'm taking my turn under the gun, let me address the allegations against me directly. First, I have never, ever paid for sex. And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old."

The close ally of former President Donald Trump also vowed not to resign, and said the "bizarre claims" against him were retaliation for challenging "the most powerful institutions in the Beltway."

The pro-Trump women's group that embattled lawmaker will address Friday night tweeted earlier this week that Gaetz, "has been a fearless leader in DC. Few members of Congress have been more willing than Matt to stand up & fight on behalf of President Trump & his America First Agenda."

Kinzinger, who was one of nine Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and has butted heads with Gaetz before, said the Women for America First tweet shows "Our politics are broken."