Apr 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Matt Gaetz targets CNN in new ad amid sexual misconduct claims

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fl) speaks during the "Save America Summit" at the Trump National Doral golf resort on April 09, 2021 in Doral, Florida.
Rep. Matt Gaetz in Doral, Florida, last week. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) announced Wednesday a six-figure ad buy for a spot that takes aim at CNN as part of an offensive to hit back at mounting sexual misconduct allegations, Politico first reported.

Driving the news: Gaetz is under federal investigation following sex trafficking allegations, and the House Ethics Committee has also opened an inquiry. Announcing the 30-second ad, to run in his Florida Panhandle district, Gaetz called on his Twitter followers to "help us fight back!"

  • The Friends of Matt Gaetz campaign committee said in the statement to Politico that the ad was designed to highlight a smear campaign against him, which it added was "aimed at taking out a Congressman of the United States."

The big picture: Gaetz has strongly denied all allegations against him.

  • Two of his senior aides resigned earlier this month over the claims, but Gaetz declared last Friday that he's not "going anywhere" and vowed he had "not yet begun to fight."

Of note: The ad features footage from Project Veritas, a conservative activist group known for using practices considered unethical in journalism, including deceptive editing and spreading disinformation.

  • A man identified as a CNN employee in the ad speaks about the news outlet's coverage of Gaetz.
  • Representatives for Gaetz and CNN did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.
Go deeper