Former Rep. Katie Hill said on Monday that Rep. Matt Gaetz ought to resign if allegations of sexual impropriety prove to be true.
In recent days the high-profile Florida Republican has faced reports that the Department of Justice is looking into him over an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and potential violations of sex trafficking laws, as part of a broader investigation.
Gaetz has also reportedly shown off naked photos and videos of women in his life to other members of Congress and was reminded by former House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office about the need for professional behavior, according to CNN.
“If there is even a fraction of truth to these reports, he should resign immediately,” Hill wrote in Vanity Fair.
Gaetz has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and been vocal in his own defense. Earlier Monday he penned an op-ed in the Washington Examiner reiterating that he will not resign as the scandal bears down on him and said the episode is an attempt by “the swamp” to silence a fervently pro-Trump voice.
“My lifestyle of yesteryear may be different from how I live now, but it was not and is not illegal,” he wrote. He also noted his prior defense of Hill at a time “when her own Democratic colleagues wouldn’t.”
Hill, of California, resigned from Congress in 2019 over allegations that she had sexual relationships with a male staffer in her office — which she denied at the time — as well as a female campaign staffer, which she admitted to and apologized for being “inappropriate.” As the story played out, nude photos of Hill surfaced on conservative news sites, which she says was fallout of an acrimonious divorce from her husband at the time.
She said that she and Gaetz had developed an amiability in Washington as members of the same House committee despite their chasmic ideological differences, and that he was one of the few people willing to stand by her when the “revenge porn” began to circulate.
“Matt was the first member of Congress who publicly and unapologetically defended me, saying that while I might have made mistakes, I was a victim in this circumstance,” Hill wrote. “At one of the darkest moments of my life, when I was feeling more alone than I ever had, Matt stood up for me — and that really mattered.”
Hill added that the two continued to keep in touch periodically but that their interactions trailed off in the fall after Gaetz ridiculed Andrew Gillum, a former Florida gubernatorial candidate, in a way that she felt was “bi-phobic and bullshit.” She added that they have since stopped communicating over Gaetz’s continued support of former President Donald Trump’s false claims about the integrity of the 2020 elections.
Hill remarked that “in difficult times, sometimes the unlikeliest people support you,” and that when news of the Justice Department investigation first arose, she hoped that he would be cleared.
“If true, Matt had engaged in the very practice he’d defended me from,” Hill wrote. “Sharing intimate images or videos of someone without their consent should be illegal, plain and simple. It shouldn’t matter if it was done to hurt someone, as with revenge porn, or to brag about your sexual conquests, like Matt has been accused of doing.”