Cassidy Hutchinson on Gaetz dating claim: ‘I have much higher standards’

Cassidy Hutchinson could only awkwardly laugh after Rachel Maddow listed Hutchinson’s encounters with Rudy Giuliani and President Donald Trump that the former White House aide wrote about in her new book.

But after Maddow on Monday night cited uncomfortable encounters Hutchinson had with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) that were recounted in “Enough,” the MSNBC host said the congressman not only denied the claims but said that he and Hutchinson had briefly dated. While Hutchinson acknowledged that the two were friends at one point, she again laughed, saying, “I do not think that Matt Gaetz has the best track record for relationships and condoning his relationships, how he thinks that they might be defined.”

“I will say on behalf of myself I never dated Matt Gaetz. I have much higher standards in men,” she said. “And Matt, frankly, is a very unserious politician.”

Gaetz responds to portions of Hutchinson’s book involving him claiming he dated Hutchinson.

Hutchinson responds, “I will say on behalf of myself I never dated Matt Gaetz. I have much higher standards in men. “

— Acyn (@Acyn) September 26, 2023

Maddow read passages from Hutchinson’s book, which was released Tuesday, that recounted two instances in which Gaetz allegedly made Hutchinson feel uncomfortable. Maddow read passages on-air about how Gaetz brushed his thumb on Hutchinson’s chin and said, “Has anyone ever told you you’re a national treasure?” Another passage read on Monday night was about an instance at Camp David in which Gaetz asked Hutchinson to escort him back to his cabin, leading then-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to say, “Get a life, Matt.”

In a statement to The Washington Post, Gaetz denied the claims by Hutchinson, saying, “I don’t remember either of these events, and based on Cassidy’s prior false statements, I doubt they occurred.” He maintained that they had dated, despite Hutchinson’s denial.

“I did date Cassidy for a few weeks when we were both single years ago. We parted amicably and remained friends thereafter, even during President Trump’s post presidency when she asked me to help her secure housing in South Florida because she was eager to continue working for President Trump,” Gaetz said. “It is sad to see Cassidy dishonestly turn against so many people who cared about her for fame and book sales.”

A spokesman for McCarthy did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday morning.

Hutchinson, who was an aide to Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, became one of the most useful witnesses for the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Hutchinson, who testified for about two dozen hours over the course of multiple sessions, has said that Meadows — whom she has not talked to since leaving the White House — destroyed documents and was directly involved with efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Hutchinson testified that she was involved with conversations about requests from Gaetz and GOP Reps. Mo Brooks (Ala.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (Tex.) and Scott Perry (Pa.), all of whom she said had sought a promise from the White House to be cleared in advance of any crimes they might be charged with. Gaetz has previously described the Jan. 6 committee as “an unconstitutional political sideshow” that is “siccing federal law enforcement on political opponents.”

More than a year after her live testimony at a public hearing, the 26-year-old on Tuesday released her new book published by Simon and Schuster. The book promises to detail how Hutchinson was “an idealistic young woman thrust into the middle of a national crisis, where she risked everything to tell the truth about some of the most powerful people in Washington.”

In her first live TV interview on Monday night, Hutchinson told Maddow that while she still considers herself a Republican, she does not consider Trump to be a “strong Republican.” Trump has been indicted in four cases — all while leading the Republican field in the 2024 presidential race.

“But in this election cycle, in my opinion, it’s a make-or-break moment for the Republican Party,” Hutchinson said on MSNBC. “Now is the time if these politicians, these men and some women, that are currently in Congress want to make the break and want to take the stand, they have to do it now.”

She added: “I think it’s extremely disappointing, and it’s not a hard issue to take. We’re talking about a man who at the very essence of his being almost destroyed democracy in one day, and he wants to do it again. He wants to run for president to do it again.”

Hutchinson also addressed on MSNBC how she wrote in the book that Giuliani had groped her before the Capitol riot. After Maddow described it as “graphic and gross,” the host noted that Giuliani denied her account, calling it a “disgusting lie.” Hutchinson said she stood by what she wrote.

“I stand by my statement and what I described in the book, and I agree that it was gross,” Hutchinson responded.

Toward the end of the interview, Hutchinson addressed Gaetz’s response to the book. After saying that Gaetz was “somebody that I personally do not hold in high regard in terms of trust,” Hutchinson pointed to the congressman’s role as one of the main obstructionists in the hard-right flank of the House that is pushing the country toward a potential government shutdown this week. Gaetz has vowed to file a motion to remove McCarthy from the speakership if he does not comply with hard-liners’ demands.

“I don’t really have much else to say to somebody that is more concerned about a sound bite than actually passing legislation,” Hutchinson said.

John Wagner, Amber Phillips, Eugene Scott, Leigh Ann Caldwell, Marianna Sotomayor and Mariana Alfaro contributed to this report.

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