House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana said Wednesday that Republican leadership would “take action” against Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida if the U.S. Department of Justice formally does first.
Mr. Scalise, the second-ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, told reporters his GOP colleague would face consequences in Congress should federal prosecutors charge him in court.
“There’s been nothing that we’ve seen yet from the Department of Justice. If something is going on, obviously we’ll find out about it,” Mr. Scalise said about Mr. Gaetz while speaking to reporters.
“Right now it’s hard to speculate on rumors, but if something really formal happened from Justice, we would of course react and take action,” Mr. Scalise said about Mr. Gaetz during a news conference.
Mr. Gaetz, 38, is under federal investigation for the alleged sex trafficking of a teenage girl, The New York Times reported last month. He has not been charged, and he has denied he broke any laws.
Specifically, investigators are said to be examining whether Mr. Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her travel with him, The Times reported, citing unnamed sources.
Mr. Scalise side-stepped a reporter’s question about whether he still has confidence in Mr. Gaetz and said they have yet to discuss the allegations but will likely see each other this week and speak.
“I haven’t talked to him to get his explanation of what’s been alleged. It’s serious things alleged. Obviously, we want to get the facts,” said Mr. Scalise.
“If you look historically, there have been a few cases where members have had charges filed against them for various things, and we removed them from committees immediately when that happened. That’s been the precedent that we’ve always followed,” said Mr. Scalise.