Trashbag: How nice is it not to be Matt Gaetz?

Welcome to the inaugural edition of your weekly Trashbag.

Welcome, cherished Trashberg readers, to the first edition of the Trashbag, in which we’ll take stock of the week we’ve left behind, answer a few reader questions, and just generally try to have a good time. Because Fridays here at Trashberg (and probably the occasional Saturday, if we’re being honest) are all about chill vibes—and in today’s case, about being grateful that none of us is currently embattled walking priapism Matt Gaetz.

If you’ve somehow managed to miss the Matt Gaetz news these past few days, 1) I can’t even begin to imagine how you found this newsletter and 2) here’s a quick refresher. First, the New York Times reported that Gaetz has been the subject of a Justice Department investigation “over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him.” And what did Gaetz have to say for himself then?

I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.

Okay!

Then Matt Gaetz tweeted that his dad was wearing a wire before going on Tucker Carlson to claim extortion and to tell us about a new crime he didn’t do. Then the Washington Post reported that this so-called extortion scheme involved his former lawmaker father being approached by two men who said that, if the elder Gaetz helped them find a longtime American hostage in Iran, it might help the Gaetzes with the Justice Department in the long run. Classic father-son stuff. Then the Times revealed that part of the Justice Department’s investigation centered on Matt and his buddy’s “involvement with multiple women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments.” There’ve been a few other details here and there, like the fact that he would allegedly show his colleagues nude photos of women he’d slept with and also that he has no friends, but those are the broad strokes.

One thing in particular that’s bothered me since Matt Gaetz first came on my radar in 2017 is that, no matter how much I try, I have never been able to find a single trace of Matt Gaetz’s pre-fame internet activity. Sure, there’s his Venmo, but the only real public activity is a single post from his mysterious and very politically expedient 20-year-old adopted son, Nestor. The comment reads simply, “This Nestor.”

And Nestor it was.

But for a(n albeit older) millennial—especially one who doesn’t seem to have been overly concerned with his public image in his youth—Matt Gaetz has somehow managed to leave virtually no trail. Early domains were exclusively registered to work emails; the only account he ever promoted on Twitter was his LinkedIn; and every bit of public Facebook activity occurred after he’d already started campaigning for state office. All of which is to say, the lack of internet fingerprints is starting to make a little more sense now.

Of course, as people have delighted in pointing out these past few days, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t played it a little fast and loose with some of his Twitter choices.

But in fairness, these tweets were in the past—some are from a more recent past than others, but still, a past nonetheless. So what does present-day Matt Gaetz have to say for himself?

“Matt Gaetz has never paid for sex,” the statement said. “Matt Gaetz refutes all the disgusting allegations completely. Matt Gaetz has never ever been on any such websites whatsoever. Matt Gaetz cherishes the relationships in his past and looks forward to marrying the love of his life.”

Okay!

Mailbag: Ask me stuff!

What’s a newsletter without some reader dialogue? Every week, I’ll be answering a few questions from Trashberg subscribers. You can ask me anything—advice, hypotheticals, whether I think Jared Kushner has ever seen Trump naked, the only limit is your own imagination.

If you’ve got a question, you can send it to trashbag@trashberg.com. I’m here to help.

Screenshots I took this week and can’t remember why

Not sure I need to explain this one.

Guess the mouth

Just as the New York Times has the crossword and Spelling Bee, so, too, does Trashberg have games. More specifically, one game. That’s right: It’s Guess the Mouth.

Every week, I’ll have one closeup shot of a lawmaker’s mouth. Can you guess who the mouth belongs to? I sure hope not, but we’ll have the answers for you the following Friday anyway. Now, without further ado: Reader, guess the mouth.

And finally, an open thread (for paying subscribers):

I’ll be back here periodically throughout the day to chat and just generally shoot the shit. Comments for this will be open only to paying subscribers, because even my own masochism has its limits. So come on by if you want to chat. Otherwise, have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you all on Tuesday-ish.

One more note: I’ll be asking for suggestions on what to do with this month’s subscriber revenue in the next few weeks, so start thinking. The only rule is that it has to be something that makes the world just a little less bad.

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