Democratic Florida State Rep. Anna Eskamani talked to MSNBC’s Joy Reid on Friday about the “cringeworthy” voicemail left by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and his friend, former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, in 2019.
In the voicemail, obtained by the Daily Beast, Greenberg referred to himself as Eskamani’s “favorite tax collector” and to Gaetz as her “favorite U.S. congressman. Greenberg said that he and Gaetz were discussing Eskamani’s “lovely qualities,” which Gaetz followed by saying “We think you’re the future of the Democratic Party in Florida!”
Reid asked Eskamani what she thought Greenberg and Gaetz wanted to accomplish by leaving that voicemail.
“It’s an uncomfortable question but I think it’s an important one, when it comes to the experiences of many women in politics,” Eskamani, who has called for Gaetz to resign, told Reid. “We’re constantly objectified. We’re constantly not seen as valid contributors to policy, but instead as objects of pleasure and something to look at, versus to respect. So yes, I absolutely got the feeling that it was very much an attempt at an intimate conversation, even the notion of ‘your lovely qualities,’ that alone was very cringeworthy for me.”
“When I look back at my entire engagement with Mr. Greenberg over the past maybe three, four years, I always try to keep a distance between us, but there was a lot of pushy behavior, corrosive behavior, attempting to make a conversation go in a more intimate direction than I wanted to go,” Eskamani later said. “It’s so important that women, especially women in politics, share their stories, because unfortunately, for me, this is just another day of being a woman in politics.”
Greenberg is currently facing federal charges of sex trafficking of a minor.
The Justice Department is reportedly investigating Gaetz for possible sex trafficking charges, including the possible trafficking of a minor. Gaetz has publicly alleged his family is being targeted in an extortion scheme by a former DOJ official.