A spokesman for Mr. Trump declined to remark. In response to the story, Mr. Trump launched a press release on Wednesday morning saying that he had not mentioned the pardon with Mr. Gaetz.
“Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon,” Mr. Trump mentioned. “It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him.”
Mr. Gaetz has denied having intercourse with a 17-year-old or paying for intercourse. A spokesman denied that he privately requested a pardon in reference to the persevering with Justice Department inquiry.
“Entry-level political operatives have conflated a pardon call from Representative Gaetz — where he called for President Trump to pardon ‘everyone from himself, to his administration, to Joe Exotic’ — with these false and increasingly bizarre, partisan allegations against him,” the spokesman mentioned in a press release. “Those comments have been on the record for some time, and President Trump even retweeted the congressman, who tweeted them out himself.”
Though Mr. Gaetz had little formal energy within the House, the place he stays a backbencher, he supplied Mr. Trump what he craved and what Republican congressional leaders wouldn’t at all times supply: fierce loyalty and a style for bare-knuckle political fight.
In his memoir revealed final fall, “Firebrand: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the MAGA Revolution,” Mr. Gaetz recalled his first one-on-one telephone name with the president in late 2017. Mr. Trump had seen Mr. Gaetz on Fox News attacking Robert S. Mueller III, the particular counsel, and thought he had heard an ally.
“I need warriors, you know what I mean?” the president informed him.
Mr. Gaetz knew exactly. Though he got here from the extra conservative Florida Panhandle, the younger congressman shared Mr. Trump’s style for boasts, significantly about sexual exploits, and a knack for self-promotion. Neither was significantly impressed by the trimmings of conventional energy in Washington, and each had been sons of highly effective males. Mr. Gaetz’s father, Don Gaetz, was the president of the Florida Senate and a rich businessman, and Mr. Trump’s father a profitable actual property developer in New York.