Embattled Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz vowed to fight the allegations of sexual misconduct he is being investigated for, promising attendees at a conservative women’s event on Friday night that he is not "going anywhere."
Gaetz suggested at the "Women for America First" event held at the Trump National Doral Miami that the attempts on him were attacks on conservatives – vowing to fight for himself and Americans who feel like their values are being marginalized.
"I may be a canceled man in some corners, I may even be a wanted man by the Deep State, but I hear the millions of Americans who feel forgotten, canceled, ignored, marginalized and targeted," Gaetz said.
The Republican congressman added that his opponents would breathe a "sigh of relief" if he were no longer in Congress fighting for his constituents.
"When you see the anonymous sources and insiders forecasting my demise, know this: they aren’t really coming for me – they’re coming for you. I’m just in the way," Gaetz said.
Gaetz is being investigated for potential sex trafficking, The New York Times has reported, as well as payments to women.
So far, no charges have been filed against him.
He has vehemently denied those claims and hinted that he would be vindicated by the truth during his speech on Friday.
"The smears against me range from just distortions of my personal life to wild – and I mean wild – conspiracy theories," Gaetz said. "I won’t be intimidated by a lying media, and I won’t be extorted by a former DOJ official and the crooks he is working with. The truth will prevail."
During the event, Gaetz also plugged President Donald Trump’s policies, like construction of the border wall and renegotiated trade deals, as he perpetuated unfounded claims that the 2020 presidential election was riddled with "fraud."
"They couldn’t beat Trump at the ballot box in 2016 so they tried impeachment and the witness box, that failed too so they ran to the mailbox with millions of ballots swirling around without any true verifiable connection to actual voters," Gaetz said, while praising Georgia’s recently-passed election reform law.
Gaetz has been a longtime Trump ally and supporter.
The former president said in a statement this week that Gaetz had never asked him for "blanket preemptive pardons" after it was reported by The New York Times that the Florida representative had sought pardons from the Trump White House for himself and his congressional allies.
"Congressman Matt Gaetz has never asked me for a pardon," Trump said in a statement. "It must also be remembered that he has totally denied the accusations against him."
At the women-focused event on Friday, Gaetz praised some of the women who work in his office, including his director of operations.
On Thursday, Gaetz’s office released a statement from women staffers written in his defense.
"In our office and under Congressman Gaetz’s leadership, women are not only respected, but have been encouraged time and time again to grow, achieve more, and ultimately, know our value," the statement said. "On every occasion he has treated each and every one of us with respect. Thus, we uniformly reject these allegations as false."