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The New Abnormal: Why Matt Gaetz Was Left Twisting in the Wind


Podcast from the Daily Beast hosted by Molly Jong-Fast and Rick Wilson

April 09,2021

Every day, sometimes multiple times a day, come eye-popping new details in the Matt Gaetz scandal. But perhaps the worst thing of all for the Florida Republican, who is accused of underage sex trafficking, may be that Donald Trump thinks he’s useless.

Yes, the congressman spent years sucking up to the former president—and even said he’d give up his job to defend him. But Trump has only managed to offer a tepid 24 words of support since the scandal broke, and George Conway has a theory about why. Joining co-hosts Molly Jong-Fast and Jesse Cannon on the latest episode of The New Abnormal, the lawyer and Washington Post contributing columnist says, “The fact that he doesn’t stick up for [Gaetz’] conduct here tells you that he has no use for the guy. And why should he? All Gaetz’ sucking up to Trump, Conway says, is now “in the past. That doesn’t get you points with Donald Trump. Now it’s what you can do for a malignant narcissist.”

It’s pretty clear now that Gaetz is now toast—and of no further use to Trump or the rest of his party, which will spend this weekend at a big RNC meeting in Palm Beach “paying homage to the orange criminal form,” as Conway puts it. The party now faces a conundrum, he says, stuck between trying to rebuild and at the same time glorify Trump. It’s a losing strategy, says Conway, that will peel off yet more centrist voters and bring more of “the kinds of candidates that drive Mitch McConnell crazy, you know, the Todd Akins of the world,” and more like Gaetz.

Also on the show, Amanda Litman, co-founder of Run for Something, which helps Democratic candidates run for office, talks about how the pandemic and the racial justice movement have inspired more people to run than hatred of Trump.

Finally, 8chan founder Frederick Brennan talks to Molly and Jesse about how he knows that Ron and Jim Watkins are behind QAnon today, in an excerpt of an interview that will run in full on the new Daily Beast podcast Fever Dreams.

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