MARCO ISLAND, Fla .– Former House Speaker John Boehner, once the nation’s top Republican, told USA TODAY that beleaguered Representative Matt Gaetz would have to resign if charged.
If the Florida congressman refuses, Boehner said, Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy would have to move to expel him from the House.
“When one member is in trouble, it spills over to all of the members,” Boehner said in an interview about his memoir, “On the House,” which is published Tuesday by St. Martin’s Press. “MPs are innocent until proven guilty,” he said, before repeating the policy he followed for eight years as leader of the House Republicans: “If he There is an arraignment, it was a clear line that the members were going to resign. “
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Federal law enforcement is investigating Gaetz into sex trafficking allegations involving charges that he had sex with a minor, then 17, and paid for her to travel with him. Gaetz has not been charged with any crime. He denied any wrongdoing and argued that he was the victim of a complicated extortion scheme. A outspoken ally of former President Donald Trump, Gaetz has also accused the media of waging a partisan campaign against him.
One of Gaetz’s associates, Joel Greenberg, is negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors.
Eight or ten times, Boehner said, he called Republicans in Congress embroiled in scandals.
“Is there more to this?” he asked. “Yes? Alright, you have an hour to resign, or I’ll go upstairs and move to kick you out.”
He said all members who received this warning have chosen to resign.
“When you’re the leader, you have a responsibility to the institution to get rid of these people, if in fact they’re doing things that are going to bring the House into disrepute,” Boehner said.
Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger became the first congressman to call for Gaetz’s resignation on Thursday.