Gaetz backed Katie Hill over nude pics leaked without her consent. She calls claims against him ‘reprehensible.’ – The Washington Post
Now, asGaetz faceshis own turmoil overallegations that he paid for sex with multiple women, including a 17-year-old girl, and reports that he showed colleagues nude photos of women he had slept with, Hill has a stern message for her former colleague: Resign if the charges are true.
The allegations against Gaetz have left the prominent conservative facing wide backlash for the past week after the New York Times first reported that the Justice Department is probing claims that the Florida congressman had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
“My lifestyle of yesteryear may be different from how I live now, but it was not and is not illegal,” Gaetz wrote.
Then, the British tabloid Daily Mail published nude photos of Hill. All of the photos were published without her permission and some were taken without her consent, she said, opening her up to harassment.
When the House Ethics Committee opened an inquiry into Hill’s sexual conduct on Oct. 23, her fellow Democrats largely disavowed her and Republicans gleefully denounced the freshman congresswoman. She has denied any relationship with the male congressional staffer, but since described her relationship with the female campaign staffer as “inappropriate, though not illegal.”
Amid Hill’s political and personal scandal, Gaetz — a favored guest on Fox News with close ties to former president Donald Trump — unexpectedly came to her defense.
“Who among us would look perfect if every ex leaked every photo/text?” Gaetz tweeted shortly after the ethics investigation began. “Katie isn’t being investigated by Ethics or maligned because she hurt anyone — it is because she is different.”
The pair forged an unlikely friendship that had endured after Hill resigned on Nov. 3, 2019. “At one of the darkest moments of my life, when I was feeling more alone than I ever had, Matt stood up for me — and that really mattered,” Hill wrote on Monday.
In his op-ed on Monday, Gaetz also noted their connection, writing that he “defended” her “when her own Democratic colleagues wouldn’t. I just didn’t think it was anyone’s business.”
But amid the latest accusations against Gaetz, Hill has not come to his defense. Instead, in the Vanity Fair essay, Hill called for the Florida congressman to resign if any of the claims are accurate.
Hill said she initially decided to stay quiet and hoped that an investigation would clear Gaetz and reveal that he had not engaged in any illegal activity. But after CNN reported new allegations that Gaetz had shown other lawmakers photos and videos of naked women — the same action that forced Hill to resign — she changed her mind.
“The women on his phone likely had no idea that the nude photos and videos they’d either privately shared or that he’d taken (with or without their consent) were being passed around and ogled by Republican congressmen,” Hill wrote Monday. “If true, Matt had engaged in the very practice he’d defended me from.”
Hill also noted that Gaetz voted against a bill that would have criminalized so-called revenge porn under many circumstances.
“If, despite his denials, Matt Gaetz did have sex with a minor, if he did provide girls and young women with drugs and money and gifts in exchange for sex, if he did ask these girls and young women to recruit other women for the same purpose, and if he did show his colleagues images of nude women without their consent, he needs to be held responsible,” Hill wrote. “Some of these actions are criminal and some of them should be. All are morally reprehensible and unacceptable for a lawmaker.