The Slatest

What Kind of Congressman Would Call for Trump to Fire Robert Mueller? Oh, Right, This Kind.

Matt Gaetz's 2008 mugshot.
Matt Gaetz in 2008. Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office via Tampa Bay Times

Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz—who represents the state’s 1st district, which is basically the western half of the panhandle—appeared on CNN Friday to demand that Robert Mueller be fired:

Congress has an obligation to expose this bias, to expose what I believe is a corrupt investigation, and I call on my Republican colleagues to join me in calling for the firing of Bob Mueller.

Gaetz’s reasoning is that the Mueller investigation is unacceptably biased because one of the agents who used to work on it sent private texts to another agent last year that disparaged Donald Trump’s intelligence. The idea that this renders the entire special counsel operation illegitimate is one that’s been heavily promoted by Fox News; it’s also so lame of an argument that both attorney general Jeff Sessions and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein—who were appointed by Trump!—have publicly rejected it.


You might wonder what sort of politician would go on national TV to present a theory so flimsy that even Jeff Sessions dismisses it as partisan hackery, and … here you go:

It was the night before Halloween in 2008 when Gaetz, then 26, drove back from the Swamp, a nightclub on Okaloosa Island. He drove a 2001 BMW SUV registered to his state senator dad.
Near midnight, Okaloosa County Deputy Chris Anglin clocked Gaetz going 48 in a 35 mph zone. Anglin later reported that Gaetz fumbled for his license and registration, his eyes were watery and bloodshot, and he swayed and staggered when he got out of the car.

That’s from a Tampa Bay Times piece about Gaetz’s DUI arrest; his father, the state senator, is also a wealthy health-care executive. The younger Gaetz would later run successfully for public office and make news for asserting that the right to carry guns openly in public is granted to humans by God, announcing he wouldn’t support changing “one damn comma” of Florida’s stand-your-ground law when it became an issue of national scrutiny after Trayvon Martin’s death, and implying that two black legislators didn’t know how to write or spell.

For what it’s worth, the DUI charges against Gaetz were later dropped, though he has admitted he made “bad decisions” on the night in question and it’s an open question as to why his license wasn’t automatically suspended after he refused to take a breathalyzer test. He’s also been cited for at least 16 other driving violations since 1999. Sixteen!