Veteran Confronts Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz For Defending Trump: 'We Both Swore The Same Oath'

A U.S. military veteran confronted Florida Republican congressman Matt Gaetz in Congress Monday, demanding he explain his ardent defense of President Donald Trump against impeachment and challenging the oath Gaetz took to his country.

The veteran, who represents the anti-Trump Common Defense group, cornered Gaetz on Capitol Hill in a video that shows the GOP congressman saying he doesn't believe "democracy is sacred." In the video, Gaetz repeatedly tells the man that he believes Trump is completely innocent of all the accusations made against him in the impeachment hearings.

"So you're going to have the president's back no matter what?" the Common Defense member asks before questioning if Gaetz is authentic in anything he says or if he is just a lackey for Trump. The veteran then asked if there is anything Trump could do that would lead Gaetz to support impeachment or the president being removed from office.

"Sure, high crimes and misdemeanors, bribery or treason, those things don't exist here," Gaetz replied, before adding that he doesn't believe Trump exploited military aid to Ukraine in July. Gaetz then redirected the questioning and accused the veteran of "asserting these premises that aren't true."

The man followed up by saying that a "concern" he and fellow veterans have is "that we both swore the same oath. If you're not willing to hold Trump accountable to his oath of office, then you are betraying yours."

Both members of Congress and those who enlist in the U.S. armed forces take an oath that begins with the same words, "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same..." For elected officials, it is the Oath of Office, while military members pledge an Oath of Enlistment.

"Well, I disagree with your characterization that [Trump] has betrayed his oath, or I have betrayed mine, but that's why we've got that great country where people get to discuss this," Gaetz said, becoming visibly agitated by the man.

The two then sparred over each other's respective oaths to the country and whether democracy as a whole is "sacred."

"I take exception with the premise of the question that [a lawmaker's oath of office] is 'sacred,' but I'd say it's super important, but not necessarily sacred," Gatez said.

"Oh, so democracy is not sacred?" the veteran shot back.

The two men went back and forth about Trump's alleged quid pro quo dealings with Ukraine and whether he withheld military aid from them earlier this year in exchange for their promise to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden. Gaetz denied that the transcript of Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy showed any evidence of bribery or conditionality.

The veteran then accused Gaetz of being disingenuous for being such a staunch defender of the president.

veteran confront matt gaetz impeachment
A U.S. military veteran confronted Florida Republican congressman Matt Gaetz in Congress Monday, demanding he explain his ardent defense of President Donald Trump against impeachment and challenging the oath he took to his country. Screenshot: Twitter | Common Defense

"So, here's the thing, I think veterans around the country are kind of sick of this lying, of inauthenticity coming from folks like you," the Common Defense member said.

"Oh, it's very authentic," Gaetz replied. "Wait how do you know what my authenticity is?"

"That's a good question, how would anyone know?" the veteran replied at the conclusion of the video.

The Common Defense group describes themselves as a group of anti-Trump veterans who seek to "protect our communities from hate and violence, to serve on the front lines for social, economic, and environmental justice, and to champion a truly equitable and representative democracy." The group put out a separate video this week in which they confronted GOP congressman Mark Meadows and asked why he referred to veterans earlier this week as "my people."

Veteran Confronts Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz For Defending Trump: 'We Both Swore The Same Oath' | Politics