Matt Gaetz has once again found a way to hitch himself to the latest conservative cause celebre.
The Florida congressman said Wednesday night that Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen on trial for first-degree homicide after he shot and killed two people during a protest in Kenosha last year, shouldn’t be convicted. He also said Rittenhouse might have a job waiting for him after the trial is over.
“He deserves a not guilty verdict, and I sure hope he gets it because you know what, Kyle Rittenhouse would probably make a pretty good congressional intern,” Gaetz said in an interview with Newsmax, in front of a backdrop advertising his podcast. “We may reach out to him and see if he'd be interested in helping the country in additional ways.”
Gaetz may have arguably gone the furthest in pledging his support, but he’s far from the first prominent conservative to back Rittenhouse. After Rittenhouse killed two Black Lives Matter protesters last year, Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie praised him for showing “incredible restraint and presence and situational awareness” and former President Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security put out talking points sympathetic to Rittenhouse.
Last month, close Gaetz ally Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene posted a link to a fundraiser for Rittenhouse’s legal defense.
Gaetz also dove into another high-profile legal case on Wednesday night, denouncing the 41-month sentence handed down against ‘QAnon Shaman’ Jacob Chansley, who became a national mascot for the January 6 Capitol riot and pleaded guilty to obstructing an official proceeding of Congress.
“This QAnon Shaman is like a relatively harmless, nonviolent vegan. The notion that he’s got to be in prison for three and a half years to settle some sort of political score defies justice,” Gaetz said.
“The American people deserve a Department of Justice that is the least political agency in Washington,” he added. “Instead, what we've got is a Department of Justice that is the most political agency in Washington becoming, essentially, the enforcement wing of the Democratic Party.”
Gaetz himself has said that he’s currently under investigation by the Department of Justice, an investigation which began while Trump was in office and William Barr was Attorney General. Ex-Gaetz friend Joel Greenberg, a former Florida county tax collector, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking a child in May, and the Department of Justice recently added two top prosecutors to its sex trafficking investigation involving Gaetz, the New York Times reported last month.
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