Despite being a staunch ally to President Trump, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) managed to garner some goodwill in the comedy world last summer when—unlike his GOP colleagues—he refused to endorse Sacha Baron Cohen’s plan to arm toddlers on camera in the first episode of Showtime’s Who Is America?
But that didn’t win him any points with Jimmy Kimmel, who spent a chunk of his monologue Tuesday night tearing into Gaetz for appearing to threaten former Trump fixer Michael Cohen on Twitter earlier in the day.
The day before Cohen is set to testify publicly on Capitol Hill, Gaetz tweeted, “Hey @MichaelCohen212 - Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…”
In an interview with The Daily Beast’s Sam Stein, Gaetz pushed back on the idea that he was engaging in witness tampering. “No, it is challenging the veracity and character of a witness. We do it everyday. We typically do it during people’s testimony,” he said, adding, “This is what it looks like to compete in the marketplace of ideas.”
Kimmel also characterized his words as “witness tampering” before sharing Gaetz’s Twitter bio with his audience. It includes a quote from Trump that reads, “He’s a machine...handsome and going places.”
“This guy loves Trump,” the host added. Showing viewers the front page of Gaetz’s website, he said, “He pulled quotes calling him ‘Trump’s Best Buddy,’ ‘Trump’s Ultimate Defender,’ and ‘The Trumpiest Congressman in Trump’s Washington,’” before joking, “There’s even a picture of Gaetz and Trump on ‘take your ass-kisser to work day.’”
“This tweet is quite possibly a felony,” Kimmel said. “Witness tampering is illegal. But it’s kind of nice, in a way. Because by the time Trump goes to prison, he’s gonna have all his family and friends there too.”