Gaetz says he won’t resign

The HILL

Juliegrace Brufke

04/02/21 01:25 PM EDT

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) told The Hill on Friday he has no plans of stepping down after coming under fire following reports that the Department of Justice is investigating him for an alleged inappropriate relationship with a minor and a possible violation of sex trafficking laws

In a text exchange with The Hill, the Florida Republican said rumors he plans to resign from his are “false” and it is “very safe” to say he doesn’t have any intention to do so.

The New York Times first reported the investigation was taking place on Tuesday evening, with a second report emerging Thursday detailing accusations that he and former Florida county tax collector Joel Greenberg paid multiple women who were recruited for sex online.

Gaetz — one of former President Trump’s most vocal allies in Congress  — has vehemently denied he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, stating during an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that he is being accused of relations with a teenager that “does not exist.

The Florida Republican alleged that he and his family are targets in an extortion scheme from a former DOJ official seeking millions of dollars to make the accusations disappear.

The DOJ official has repeatedly denied that he has attempted to extort the congressman or members or his family.

“The New York Times is running a story that I have traveled with a 17-year-old woman, and that is verifiably false,” Gaetz told Carlson on Tuesday.

“People can look at my travel records and see that that is not the case,” he added. “What is happening is an extortion of me and my family involving a former Department of Justice official.”

Gaetz’s communication director, Luke Ball, stepped down from his position on Friday in the wake of the reports.