Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz’s tweet threatening former Trump attorney Michael Cohen ahead of Cohen’s testimony before Congress was “embarrassing” and “disgusting,” according to his fellow Republican, Senator Rick Scott.
On Tuesday, 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…”
Florida Phoenix reported that Scott, formerly the governor of Florida, told reporters he believed Gaetz’s tweet was certainly an attempt to intimidate a witness:
“First off, it’s embarrassing. 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 deleted the tweet after public uproar and later apologized, though the Republican lawmaker insisted that his words were not intended to intimidate Cohen and had been mischaracterized.
On Wednesday night, he issued a follow-up tweet, writing: “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.”
Following his initial intimidation via Twitter, Gaetz also appeared on the sidelines of the congressional hearing during Cohen’s testimony on Wednesday, staring intently at him as he spoke — despite the fact that Gaetz does not sit on the House Oversight Committee.
The congressman — who is a staunch ally of the president — was overheard speaking with President Donald Trump by phone regarding the initial tweet, during which time Gaetz said he “was happy to do it for you. You just keep killing it.”