Matt Gaetz Allegations 'Should Disgust Decent Floridians,' Primary Opponent Bryan Jones Says

Matt Gaetz Bryan Jones Republican Florida Primary
Republican Bryan Jones, who is challenging Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) in the 2022 GOP primary, reportedly argued that Gaetz being under FBI investigation amid allegations of sex trafficking should "disgust every decent Floridian." Gaetz is pictured during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on October 21, 2021. Greg Nash/Getty

The GOP primary opponent of Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has argued that the FBI's investigation of the congressman over sex trafficking allegations "should disgust every decent Floridian."

Gaetz, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, is the subject of an FBI investigation of allegations that he maintained a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid her to travel with him. The allegations have not been proven and Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing, while pointing out that the accusation was part of a related alleged plot to extort his family.

Bryan Jones, a veteran Air Force pilot who plans to challenge Gaetz in the 2022 Republican primary, told conservative newspaper The Washington Times that he would "restore dignity" to Florida's 1st Congressional District by defeating Gaetz. Jones reportedly plans to officially announce his challenge to Gaetz on Thursday.

"I feel it is time to begin a new path of service, one that will help restore dignity and honor to Florida's 1st District — because the people of this district are good, honest, hard-working people, and they deserve a congressman who reflects their values and who will fight for their beliefs and their freedoms," Jones told the paper in an interview published on Wednesday.

"Our district deserves an effective, values-driven leader in Congress, not someone under investigation for crimes that should disgust every decent Floridian," he added. "Send me to Washington, and you get a leader who is always going to be on your side — someone with the honesty, strength of character, and discipline to go to war against the elite and career politicians on behalf of we the people."

Jones also blasted Gaetz as a "career politician" and said that the two-term congressman was "someone who wants to get on the media and be a talking head for their own glory and ego." Gaetz, who is a popular figure nationally among Trump loyalists, is likely to be a strong favorite in the primary and had already reportedly raised $1.4 million for his campaign by July.

In addition to bringing up the FBI investigation, Jones is campaigning partly on the fact that he, unlike Gaetz, is a veteran of the military. In addition, he separated himself from the incumbent by reportedly declaring that his political idol is former President Ronald Reagan, rather than Trump.

Florida developer Stephen Alford is set to stand trial next month, accused of attempting to extort Gaetz and his father in a plot related to the sex trafficking investigation.

Alford, who has pleaded not guilty, allegedly attempted to secure $25 million in exchange for a promise to obtain a presidential pardon from Trump that would shield Gaetz from any potential charges.