WASHINGTON — Sen. Rick Scott said an explosive tweet from Rep. Matt Gaetz earlier this week was “embarrassing” and “disgusting.”
Gaetz, a Panhandle Republican and ally of President Trump, made headlines and spurred a Florida Bar investigation after an apparent attempt to intimidate Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen ahead of Cohen’s Capitol Hill testimony on Wednesday. Gaetz has since apologized and deleted the tweet.
Scott told reporters outside of his Senate office today that the tweet was indeed an attempt to intimidate a witness.
“First off, it’s embarrassing,” Scott said. “We shouldn’t be doing that stuff up here. You might not like what someone’s going to say, but you shouldn’t be trying to intimidate them and talk about their family, things like that. It’s wrong. I think it’s disgusting. I’m glad he apologized, but I’m very disappointed.”
Gaetz’s now-deleted tweet on Tuesday said, “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…”
The Republican lawmaker told the Florida Phoenix on Tuesday that it wasn’t intended as a threat.
On Wednesday night, Gaetz said in another tweet, “I’ve personally apologized to @MichaelCohen212 4 referencing his private family in the public square. Regardless of disagreements, family members should be off-limits from attacks from representatives, senators & presidents, including myself. Let’s leave the Cohen family alone.”
Legal experts say the intimidating tweet to Cohen could make Gaetz vulnerable to charges of witness tampering.