Matt Gaetz Called Out for Citing Chinese Propaganda in Hearing
Matt Gaetz has been one of the most vocal Republicans in Congress when it comes to cracking down on China. It had to be more than a little embarrassing on Tuesday, then, when the Florida congressman got called out in a House Armed Services Committee hearing for citing Chinese propaganda while trying to make a point about cutting off U.S. aid to Ukraine.
“Is the Azov Battalion getting access to U.S. weapons?” Gaetz asked Colin Kahl, the U.S. defense undersecretary for policy. The Azov Battalion is a controversial, far-right unit within Ukraine’s national guard. Kahl seemed confused. “Not that I’m aware of,” he said. “But if you have information I’d be happy to hear it.”
Gaetz then entered into the record a report from the Global Times about how the Azov Battalion was getting U.S. weapons as far back as 2018. “Any reason to disagree with that assessment?”
“I’m sorry, is this the Global Times from China?” Kahl asked.
“No, this is—” Gaetz began before looking at his notes. “It might be, yeah,” he continued.
“As a general matter, I don’t take Beijing’s propaganda at face value,” Kahl said.
Gaetz asked him to answer the question. “I don’t have any evidence one way or the other,” Kahl said before reiterating that he doesn’t take Beijing’s propaganda at face value.
“Fair enough, I would agree with that assessment,” Gaetz said before quickly moving on.
Khal wasn’t the only one who dunked on Gaetz on Tuesday. Rep. Eric Swalwell called him out for inviting Corey Beekman, a combat veteran, to lead the Pledge of Allegiance ahead of the year’s first Judiciary Committee hearing. “It is my pleasure and distinct honor to introduce to the committee Staff Sergeant Corey Ryan Beekman, an American hero and a constituent of mine residing in Pensacola, Florida,” Gaetz said.
As Swalwell pointed out on Tuesday, Beekman is an accused murderer who wound up in a standoff with police. “That’s why there’s a trust deficit here,” Swalwell said. “You pull off a public stunt to try to own the libs, and what you did is you brought in a guy who allegedly shot two people and killed one of them. That’s where the trust deficit is.”
Gaetz apologized to the family of Billy Buchanan, whom Beekman allegedly shot and killed, in a statement to the Daily Beast earlier this month. “The family of Billy Buchanan brought the situation to my attention, and I’m glad they did,” Gaetz said, adding that the decision had some “unintended consequences.”
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