alabama senate

Very Trumpy Florida Congressman May Move to Alabama to Run Against Doug Jones

Rep. Matt Gaetz, who may be too weird for his home state of Florida. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz is the current frontrunner for the role of being the most conspicuously pro-Trump member of Congress. Indeed, last year a GQ piece by Ben Schreckinger declared Gaetz the “Trumpiest Congressman in Trump’s Washington,” and that was before he went nuts and published a nasty tweet the night before Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony, suggesting he would dime out the apostate lawyer to his wife for alleged infidelities. (He subsequently apologized after he faced sanctions from both the House Ethics Committee and the Florida Bar Association).

But Gaetz’s Trumpiness isn’t just a matter of his fierce support for the 45th president. He’s also Trumpy in terms of his taste for weird and offensive arguments, as a columnist for Orlando Weekly observed last October:

Over the past 24 hours, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida congressman … took to Twitter to post an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, as well as discredit Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post journalist who many presume was murdered by the Saudi Arabian government …

One of Gaetz’s aides once wrote a bill with help from a conspiracy theory subreddit devoted to white nationalism and Trump. 

But he also can’t seem to stop himself from doing racist crap on a semi-regular basis. Gaetz’s special guest for President Trump’s State of the Union address just happened to be Chuck Johnson, a banned Twitter troll, accused Holocaust denier and vocal affiliate of the “alt-right” white nationalist movement. 

Gaetz also argued with Chris Hayes on MSNBC that Haiti is basically just “sheet metal and garbage,” when attempting to defend Trump’s racist “shithole countries” comments. 

You get the drift. The man is a serious MAGA warrior, who has already been warning that Democrats are getting ready to steal the 2020 election from his noble leader.

But this possibility, reported by The Hill, elevates Gaetz to a whole new level of zaniness:

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of President Trump’s most devoted loyalists on Capitol Hill who represents the Florida Panhandle, has told GOP colleagues he is considering moving across the state line to run for the Senate in Alabama in 2020, several House lawmakers told The Hill …

“He’s talking about running for Senate in Alabama. They have a one-day residency requirement there,” said a GOP lawmaker who knows Gaetz well. “POTUS [President of the United States] would probably endorse him.”

You can see how the president might be happy with such a faithful follower entering the race to oppose Democratic Senator Doug Jones. After all, Jones won the seat after Trump’s choice in the 2017 special election, appointed incumbent Luther Strange, lost to Judge Roy Moore in a primary runoff. Moore may well run again in 2020, as could another far-right figure who’s not on the best terms with Team Trump, north Alabama congressman Mo Brooks, who once called Trump a “serial adulterer” and “notorious flip-flopper” while promoting Ted Cruz’s rival presidential candidacy. And the one candidate already in the field, establishment conservative congressman Bradley Byrne, called on Trump to withdraw from the presidential race in 2016 after the Access Hollywood tapes came out (though he later re-endorsed the mogul).

A Senate GOP primary that included a carpetbagging Gaetz, plus the alleged mall creeper and confirmed theocrat Moore, along with Brooks (who recently compared Democrats and the media to Nazis, and once suggested people who didn’t stay healthy didn’t deserve health care), would represent perhaps the best possible scenario for Jones. Byrne might be tempted to get a little crazy, too, to avoid being out-Trumped by the field. And it’s possible Gaetz could be vulnerable on his right flank: In recently introducing his so-called “Green Real Deal,” sort of an energy lobbyist’s answer to the Green New Deal, Gaetz acknowledged the existence of climate change. That may be too much for Alabama Republicans.

The funniest thing about the idea of Gaetz running is the idea that Alabama has to import a wild-ass politician to take on Doug Jones. As long as Roy Moore and Mo Brooks have anything to say about it, the Yellowhammer State can proudly match anyone for right-wing zeal, win or lose.

Matt Gaetz May Move to Alabama to Run Against Doug Jones