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We spoke with 21 of Matt Gaetz's high-school classmates. Some say they could have predicted the congressman's sex scandal.
  • Some of Matt Gaetz's former classmates spoke exclusively with Insider about his high school days.
  • Gaetz, now 38, had a reputation as a know-it-all who talked over his classmates and teachers.
  • His high-school classmates are gossiping about him on their Facebook alumni group.
Erin Scot was at a friend's wedding rehearsal dinner in 2009 when her old pal from high school, Matt Gaetz, pulled out his phone to show a group of friends a picture of a woman. Scot was surprised.

The photo was "definitely sexual," Scot told Insider in a recent interview.

It was like a "night vision" picture, and Scott said it was clear to her that Gaetz was showing the photo to brag about his relationship with the woman.

"I feel like she was on a bed and maybe as she's looking at the camera like on all fours," Scot said. It felt inappropriate, she said, for Gaetz to be showing off the photo to a group of friends on the deck of a Destin, Florida, rental house. The photo, she added, seemed to depict "a private moment."

Scot and Gaetz had competed on the high-school debate team together about a decade before. They grew close in 2001, she recalled, the year after Gaetz had graduated. The two friends spent the summer doing "dumb kid things" like shooting paintballs from Gaetz's car and egging houses, she said.

Gaetz was generally "an asshole, but in a good way at the time," she told Insider in a recent interview. "We should have known better," but "it was fun."

... Scot said she wasn't surprised when she read reports earlier this month about Gaetz, now a Florida Republican congressman, showing nude photos of women to his fellow members of the US House.

... "In general, it's like he always kind of wanted, regardless of whether it was a sexual conquest or any other sort of achievement, he was very big on letting you know that he did it," Scot said.

... Scot, who now lives in Washington state, grew so angry that she blogged about Gaetz in March 2010, urging people to vote against him in the upcoming special election primary for a seat in the Sunshine State legislature.

"While the rest of us grew up, Gaetz stayed the same. He may have gotten his law degree and put on a suit and tie, but behind all that he's still the same guy who takes out his cell phone to show friends naked pictures of the women he's recently bedded," she wrote in 2010.

She added: "He can come and knock on your doors, smile for your photo ops, and hold all the babies he wants, but the fact of the matter is that Gaetz is a smarmy womanizer with no intention of doing anything for the district that doesn't first and foremost advance his political career."

... Scot said she wanted to make it clear she's not publicly sharing her concerns about Gaetz because she revels in his misery. She's had the same opinion about him for more than a decade, she said, and she shared that opinion publicly in 2010 long before he'd end up facing serious legal jeopardy while serving as one of the former president of the United States' most fierce defenders in Congress.

"I want to see people called out for who they really are, and I think Matt keeps telling us who he really is," she said. "So I just want to go on the record saying, 'Yeah, that's true.'"
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6 GOP Senators Voted Against Bipartisan Bill on Anti-Asian Hate Crimes
  • The Senate voted Wednesday to move forward a bill that would address the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.
  • In a rare bipartisan showing, almost all senators voted to advance the bill.
The Senate overwhelmingly voted on Wednesday to advance a bill addressing the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Led by Democrats Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Rep. Grace Meng of New York, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act will require federal officers to "facilitate the expedited review" of hate crimes.

"It defines COVID-19 hate crime as a violent crime that is motivated by two things: (1) the actual or perceived characteristic (e.g., race) of any person, and (2) the actual or perceived relationship to the spread of COVID-19 of any person because of that characteristic," according to the bill's summary.

In a rare bipartisan effort, a vast majority of senators voted 92-6 to advance the bill — bringing it one step closer to passing.

But the legislation could still face a difficult path forward. Republicans only supported the procedure on the agreement they could add amendments to the bill after it advanced: They added 20.

Hirono told HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic, some of the amendments added, "have absolutely nothing to do with the bill."

Here are the six Republicans who voted "no."
  • Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri
  • Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky
  • Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas
  • Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas
  • Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas
  • Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama
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or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trump, whom many observers consider an anomaly, left the White House by saying, “We will be back in some form.” His legacy is “Trumpism” – a wave of white nationalism.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.