WASHINGTON – The House’s top Republican and other lawmakers said on Wednesday they would take a wait-and-see stance on allegations that Rep. Matt Gaetz, of R-Fla., Had sex with an underage girl, then even at least one Democrat had called for dismissal from committees.
Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy, of R-California, said it was too early to try Gaetz, but added he would remove the Florida congressman from committees if the allegations were proven.
“These are serious implications. If that turns out to be true, yes, we would withdraw it if it does,” McCarthy told Fox News Wednesday. “But at the moment Matt Gaetz says that’s not true, and we have no information. So let’s get all the information.”
After: What we know: Representative Matt Gaetz facing federal investigation, charged with having sex with a minor
McCarthy also said he would try to speak privately with Gaetz about the allegations.
The New York Times first reported on Tuesday that the Justice Department is investigating Gaetz on charges of sex trafficking, accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl.
Gaetz has denied the allegations, saying they are the result of an “attempted organized criminal extortion” involving a former Justice Department official.
“None of the allegations against me are true,” Gaetz said in a written statement.
Many lawmakers – Republicans and Democrats – have remained silent on the Gaetz inquiry, although some conservative lawmakers have expressed support for their GOP colleague.
Gaetz’s close ally representative Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was quick to defend Gaetz, telling CNN, “I believe Matt Gaetz. He shouldn’t be removed from the Judiciary Committee.”
“Believe me the rumors and headlines don’t match the truth,” tweeted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Who was fired earlier this year for her comments. threatening to Democratic lawmakers. “I’m with @mattgaetz.”
Representative Ted Lieu, D-California, called for Gaetz’s immediate removal from the House Judiciary Committee.
Most Republicans have been silent on the issue.
But Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., Tweeted to McCarthy with a quick condemnation, “You don’t seem to understand. If it’s true that Rep. Matt Gaetz is involved in sex trafficking, he must resign and be prosecuted. In the meantime, you can’t let Gaetz sit on the Congressional Committee overseeing the Department investigating him. “
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kevin McCarthy: Matt Gaetz’s Investigation Allegations Are ‘Serious’