Published: Feb 21, 2018, 12:30 pm • Updated: Feb 21, 2018, 12:30 pm
WASHINGTON – Everybody went to high school with Matt Gaetz, in some form. You know the type. Contrarian, but well-argued. Obnoxious, but not a bully. An OK baseball player, but a much better debater: loud, fast and fearsome. Not boastful of family money, but not stealth about it either. You pictured him becoming a litigator, flashing cuff links like a sidearm, or becoming a congressman by 34 and then drafting legislation to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., 35, doesn’t wear cuff links. At least he is not on Valentine’s Day last week, while he’s waiting for the tiny elevator to his office in the Cannon House Office Building.
“You’ve got ‘Fox and Friends’ at 8:15 a.m. tomorrow,” his chief of staff says.
“Eight fifteen?” Gaetz says, disappointed. “I usually prefer the 5 a.m. hour.”
Why on Earth would anyone – even a congressman – want to be on camera before dawn?
“Because the president is watching,” Gaetz says.
The congressman who is always on television grew up in a house that was used in “The Truman Show,” a film about a man who is always on television. His parents still live there, in Seaside, Florida, 500 feet from the gulf. A sign on their white picket fence says THE TRUMAN HOUSE.
The walls of Gaetz’s office are painted pasta-sauce red, a color picked out by his mom. Behind Gaetz’s desk is a big photo of a F-35 fighter jet, perhaps the costliest weapon in human history, which is headquartered at the giant Air Force base in his district. On the opposite wall is a TV muted on Fox News, which is covering the latest school