Representative Matt Gaetz was slated to join Donald Trump for the former president’s third presidential announcement in Mar-a-Lago Tuesday night. But the Florida representative might be trying to wiggle out of it. Apparently, inclement weather is inhibiting his flight.
However, as New York Times reporter Jane Coaston pointed out, flights from Washington D.C. to Florida are all running just fine—regardless of which airport one may be flying from.
Gaetz, a proudly self-declared MAGA Republican, was among those challenging Kevin McCarthy’s House leadership. Trump, for his part, supported McCarthy’s nomination as House speaker.
But there has otherwise been no clear indicator of Gaetz also defecting from Trump. Last week, the representative spoke out amid calls from Republicans to ditch Trump following a disappointing midterm election, insisting that “only Trump can be trusted to enact the ‘America First’ agenda he ran on in 2016. We won’t accept any imitation.”
However, much has changed since even last week. As more elections have been declared, Trump’s mark has continued to decay—over 30 candidates he endorsed have lost, including far-right stars like Kari Lake and Blake Masters.
Meanwhile, even more Republicans have spoken out against Trumpism—from New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and outgoing Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis and Trump’s former vice president (and potential competitor) Mike Pence.
Given the building pressure, it would not be out of the question for Gaetz to have second thoughts—or at least to cover his bases by ensuring he wasn’t in the photos for Trump’s announcement.
While Tuesday’s weather still welcomes Gaetz to safely fly down for Trump’s announcement, he may be navigating the thorny broader political climate instead by choosing not to.