So what happens when you have Rep. Matt Gaetz defending Rep. George Santos while guest hosting Steve Bannon’s podcast because Bannon had a court hearing in New York over fraud charges relating to his “We Build The Wall” charity scam?
Looney Tunes doesn’t even begin to describe the weird interview.
Gaetz took a break from the House GOP clown show to guest host Bannon’s War Room podcast on Thursday. He opened with a euphemism to explain Bannon’s absence.
“Congressman Matt Gaetz here in the captain’s chair,” Gaetz announced, “while Stephen K. Bannon is out on assignment joined by Natalie Winters, and we are going to have a whole lot of Congress here joining us.”
Those House GOP members included Republican Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Anna Paulina Luna of Florida and George Santos of ????. Crazy, crazier and craziest.
And Gaetz and Santos chatted as one embattled congressman to another. Here’s the full interview.
The MEDIAite website provided a transcript of the interview.
Gaetz introduced his guest by declaring:
“One thing I know about this town. They come for the fighters and they are coming for George Santos like nothing I’ve seen in quite some time.” .
“I could ask you what it’s like to be an embattled congressman, but I kind of know a little bit about that scene.” (Indeed he does.)
Gaetz then asked Santos about his reaction to calls by two other first-term New York Republicans, Reps. Anthony D’Esposito and Nick Langworthy, for Santos to resign.
“You know, it’s your prerogative. I came here to serve the people, not politicians and party leaders. And I’m going to do just that.
And I’ve been doing just that throughout this entire first two weeks, whether it was voting for the Speaker or whether it’s been the last week where we’ve been working on legislation in my office. So, you know, I wish well, all of their opinions, but I was elected by 142,000 people until those same 142,000 people tell me they don’t want me. We’ll find out in two years.”
Gaetz then praised Santos for surprising lots of people by flipping a Democratic-held seat.
”All the people calling me to resign. I beat them by double their margins in the victory because I outworked every single one of them,” Santos replied. He was referring to calls by New York Republican officials for Santos to resign for repeatedly lying about his background and finances.
And then Gaetz said there’s nothing really wrong about lying about your resume.
“Embellishing one’s resume isn’t a crime. It’s frankly, how a lot of people get to Congress. And we want everyone to be honest,” Gaetz said.
“And again, you’ve acknowledged that and you’re working forward going forward. One of the principal critiques I’ve heard is that a lot of money was donated to your campaign by you. 700,000, I believe. Where did it come from?”
Well if there’s one thing that Santos is good at it’s acting evasively under questioning. And he managed to get in a dig at the Bidens while doing so.
“Well, I’ll tell you where it didn’t come from. It didn’t come from China, Ukraine or Burisma. How about that?” replied Santos.
Gaetz said he “also put money into my campaign when I ran.” Gaetz then asked Santos if there was anything else he wanted to say about the work he did to acquire the resources he donated to his campaign.
And then came the money quote — as Santos lied once again:
“Look, I’ve worked my entire life. I’ve lived an honest life. I’ve never been accused, sued of anything bad doing. So, you know, … it’s the equity of my hard-working self. And I’ve invested inside of me. Like I said, it didn’t come from Burisma. It didn’t come from Ukraine, Russia, China, unlike some folks that we all know that get money from those sources.”
Of course, Gaetz didn’t ask “What about Brazil?” Brazilian law enforcement authorities have said that they intend to reinstate fraud charges against Santos related to the use of a stolen checkbook in 2008.
Santos said he’s addressing the concerns of his constituents, including requests for White House tour tickets and help with passport issues. He said his constituents are particularly concerned about an interstate Chilean carjacking ring that is stealing luxury cars in Long Island and shipping them out of ports in New Jersey.
“This is a real issue in the 3rd Congressional District and nobody wants to talk about it,” Santos said. “Local leadership is too worried about getting reelected so they can keep the power grab on the taxpayer dollar jobs and I’m here actually trying to fight for the local people.”
Gaetz and Santos — the House GOP’s new bosom bodies. They deserve each other.