Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., explained his decision to break ranks with most of his GOP colleagues on Thursday and vote with most House Democrats on a non-binding resolution curbing President Trump’s power to order military action against Iran.
“I spoke to the president today,” Gaetz revealed on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” “The president told me he is more antiwar than I am, and I love the president for that. The thing is, I think a few of the advisers of the president are trying to slow-walk the administration into war. When the president relies on his instincts and we have the Trump doctrine, we kill the terrorist and we come home.”
The War Powers Resolution proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi passed by a final vote of 224-194 Eight Democrats voted against the measure and three Republicans voted in favor of it. The other two Republicans who joined Gaetz were Tom Massie of Kentucky and Francis Rooney of Florida.
Gaetz, one of Trump’s closest allies in the House, explained his support for the resolution was not meant to reflect negatively on the president.
“I think this War Powers Resolution was worthy of support because it did not criticize the president,” he said. “It did not say he was wrong in killing [Quds Force Gen.] Soleimani. But…it did say that if any president wants to drag our nation into another forever Middle East war that they require the approval of the United States Congress.”
“That’s something I deeply believe. And I think it’s something the president deeply believes,” he said.
Host Tucker Carlson questioned Gaetz’s claim that his vote had Trump’s support.
MATT GAETZ SAYS TRUMP HAS BEEN ‘MEASURED’ IN DEALING WITH IRAN: ‘LET’S HOPE THAT RESTRAINT WINS THE DAY’
“Just to be totally clear,” he asked, “you are one of three Republicans who voted, in effect, against the president’s stated position but you just talked to the president and he said that he is on your side?”
“Well, the president probably would have preferred that I vote with the other Republicans,” Gaetz responded. “He [Trump] certainly said that. I think on these broader questions of war and peace, Donald Trump understands that the pro-war candidate loses presidential elections … it’s typically the anti-war candidates that win. “
“I think that the president understands that and he is too smart to let Nancy Pelosi try to cast him as the pro-war candidate,” Gaetz explained.
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“That’s why I don’t think we are going to war with Iran.”
Fox News’ Nick Givas contributed to this report.