Sep 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Matt Gaetz discusses post-Trump GOP in new book, "Firebrand"


Cover: Simon & Schuster

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a rising conservative star, writes about traveling with President Trump from New Hampshire to Dover Air Force Base for the return of the remains of two constituents killed in Afghanistan in his book, "Firebrand," out Tuesday.

"He insisted we cut the politics short," Gaetz told Axios. "He said: 'Matt, we have to show the country the impact of these wars.' ... President Trump understands that to move people, you have to create scenes and use images. It's not enough to talk."

Gaetz, 38, also told Axios a fascinating story during a phone interview about the book:

  • Gaetz said that after he was elected to the House in 2016 from a district full of active-duty military, he asked how he could get on the Armed Services Committee. He was told to raise $75,000 for Republicans.
  • The congressman told me he wondered: "Is anyone here wearing a wire?"
  • Gaetz, playing to win, raised $150,000. He said he then was asked what additional committee he wanted. He chose Judiciary, where his profile soared during impeachment.

He is part of a new generation of Republicans who don't shun talk of climate change: "My mission is to unite Americans around this generational challenge." He advocates a pollution tax.

  • "To fully vindicate the Trump presidency," Gaetz added, "we need to embrace the energy of the populist elements of the Trump movement."
Go deeper