Matt Gaetz Had a Terrible Weekend on Twitter

Gaetz fell into a troll trap.
June 1, 2021, 3:26pm
Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, arrives at a House GOP conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, May 14, 2021. (Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, arrives at a House GOP conference meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, May 14, 2021. (Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

It seems like Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz’s holiday weekend was slightly less than restful.

On Memorial Day, the journalist Ken Klippenstein tricked the Florida Republican into retweeting a photo of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who shot and killed President John F. Kennedy, in military dress. 

“Congressman, my grandpa's a big fan of yours and is a veteran, he would be thrilled if you could RT this photo of him for Memorial Day. Here he is as a young Private First Class,” Klippenstein tweeted at Gaetz, who promptly retweeted him—and added an American flag emoji.

Klippenstein, who works for the Intercept and is known for trolling politicians, quickly seized on the opportunity: He temporarily changed his Twitter handle to “matt gaetz is a pedo.” Gaetz, who’s reportedly facing an investigation into whether he paid an underage girl for sex, unsurprisingly deleted the retweet. (Gaetz has denied all wrongdoing.)

Gaetz wasn’t Klippenstein’s only high-profile Republican target, since he also successfully baited Dinesh D’Souza and Matt Schlapp to retweet Oswald’s photo. This had the side effect of apparently triggering Candace Owens, who tweeted at Klippenstein, “It is not ‘political correctness’ to have a soul and a modicum of decency. Reminder: These men DIED—the majority of them on foreign soil—so that you could be free. You do not photoshop murderers into their uniforms so that you can have a laugh.”

Owens, evidently, didn’t realize that the photo wasn’t doctored; Oswald did in fact serve in the Marines.

Gaetz’s Twitter snafu capped off a series of not-so-great days for the embattled Florida man. Last week, a local Florida outlet reported that a payment Gaetz was supposed to make in order to secure a $155,000 yacht had, instead, gone mysteriously missing. A spokesperson for Gaetz told the outlet that Gaetz and his fiancée had been “targeted by malicious actors”—but provided no further clarification.

Although Gaetz is apparently down a boat, he did at least acquire a new nickname last week: After Gaetz claimed that the Second Amendment exists so that people can possess enough guns to overthrow their government, CNN reporter Jim Acosta slammed Gaetz and fellow Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for being “partners in slime.”