By Duncan Smith

Full disclosure: We like Congressman Matt Gaetz around here.

The Florida Republican has been one of the best friends to the conservative populist movement launched by President Trump in the entire GOP.

And we have no idea whether allegations floating around — that he’s a sex trafficker of underage girls — are true at this point.

But we do think he deserves the benefit of the doubt, especially given that he’s vociferously defending himself rather than shrinking in the face of all of this scrutiny.

So we wanted to give him an opportunity to defend himself.

He wrote a column at the Washington Examiner that was published Monday.

You be the judge.

Here’s an excerpt with a link to the full piece.

Washington scandal cycles are predictable, and sex is especially potent in politics. Let me first remind everyone that I am a representative in Congress, not a monk, and certainly not a criminal.

Nancy Pelosi once defended President Bill Clinton after he got an intern to fellate him in the Oval Office. But when it comes to the allegation that I, a grown man, paid for an adult girlfriend's expenses? Well, consider that a bridge too far for the power-hungry hypocrites.

I want to be clear about something as we process the leaks and lies from the past week. To this point, there are exactly zero credible (or even non-credible) accusers willing to come forward by name and state on the public record that I behaved improperly toward them, in the manner by which Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ten accusers.

Instead, CNN, the New York Times, Politico, and others are just repeating false allegations about a congressman who loathes the swamp and fights both sides of it on a daily basis.

Just as they once falsely attacked President Donald Trump as a Russian asset, Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a gang rapist, and even John McCain as having fathered a child out of wedlock, they now attack me. Of course, none of what they say ever amounts to anything, yet it is endlessly repeated by leftist television anchors such as Chris Cuomo, who uses his platform to cover for his brother’s appalling subjection of nursing home patients to death by the coronavirus. They think themselves such wonderful arbiters of moral purpose.

Folks won't be surprised that bizarre claims are being made about me shortly after I decided to take on the most powerful institutions in the Beltway: the establishment; the FBI; the Biden Justice Department; the Cheney political dynasty; even the Justice Department under Trump.

Yes, just like the mafia, the D.C. swamp protects its 'made men.' 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.

Predictably, the anti-Trump cheerleaders such as Meghan McCain, Bill Kristol, and sadly, some of my feckless colleagues in Congress are going to call for me to resign.

This is how D.C. works. The guilty and wrong point fingers at the innocent and right. Remember President Joe Biden's Ukraine scandal? Or the Lincoln Project's professions of moral superiority? Their scorn and moral posturing is all merely projection.

And no, I am absolutely not resigning. … I'm going to fight like hell for my constituents and the country I deeply love. You deserve no less, especially right now.

Read the rest here.

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