Matt Gaetz says he was kept off impeachment defense team over war powers vote

One of President Donald Trump’s strongest supporters on cable news and Capitol Hill was surprisingly excluded from his impeachment defense team — and he has suspicions as to why.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) was widely believed to have been a frontrunner to join a select group of House Republicans to defend the president through media outreach and providing consultation to his legal team, but he was snubbed.

In an interview with Politico, Gaetz said he wasn’t entirely sure why he was kept off the team, but he has been told by someone in the White House that Eric Ueland, the legislative affairs director, was “responsible for the brush back.”

“I don’t know why it would serve someone in the White House to manufacture a divide between the president and one of his best communicators during impeachment,” Gaetz told the outlet.

When reached by Politico, Ueland wouldn’t comment directly on the Florida Republican’s allegation. He did, however, mention Gaetz’s support for the House’s war powers resolution, which would limit the president’s ability to wage further military action against Iran without congressional approval.

The resolution did not signify a shift in policy or position for Gaetz, who began courting fellow House Republicans to support the measure after Democrats added one of his amendments to it, but Trump loyalists dragged him for the move nonetheless.

“While the Trump administration was disappointed in Mr. Gaetz’s [Iran war powers] vote, the president’s successful policy to reduce Iranian terror and misbehavior proves the path laid out by the president is working,” Ueland said in a statement to Politico. “We look forward to working with Mr. Gaetz in the future.”

Gaetz responded, “He knows it’s House Democrats, not Iran, who are impeaching the president, right?”

A spokesman for Gaetz did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

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