WASHINGTON, D.C. — At least in cyberspace, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., is a tool, and that, apparently, is OK with him.
The Twitter hashtag #MattGaetzIsATool was trending on the social media channel Tuesday, appearing thousands of times and making the Northwest Florida congressman one of the biggest things on the internet, for a while.
The kindest definition of “tool” likely is found in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, which defines the word as meaning either a “foolish or unlikable person,” or “one who is used or manipulated by another.”
The hashtag got its start with Andy Lassner, executive producer of “The Ellen Show” and NBC’s ”Ellen’s Game of Games,“ both featuring comedian, television host, actor, writer and producer Ellen DeGeneres.
On Monday, Lassner retweeted a Twitter selfie posted by Gaetz from Sunday’s Game 5 of the World Series, showing him sitting with President Donald Trump and Trump’s wife, Melania at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
Lassner’s retweet included the words “Omg this f------ tool.”
Initially, Gaetz was less than amused, taking to Twitter himself to call Lassner’s tweet “dumb” and “profane,” while mistakenly linking Lassner to NBC, where DeGeneres’ shows appear.
If #MattGaetzIsATool overtakes #NationalCatDay as the #1 trending topic on twitter, it will be very, very bad.— andy lassner (@andylassner) October 29, 2019
I’d ask NBC if they stand behind such a dumb/triggered/profane comment from a senior employee...
But I’ve learned after reading #CatchAndKill that accountability isn’t really NBC’s “thing.” https://t.co/6Jilq9pcXz
By Tuesday, however, Gaetz was on Twitter with a different attitude toward the hashtag, writing “I kinda like it,” in a tweet including a video of a man swinging a hammer with the caption “I Came In Like A Wrecking Ball,” an apparent nod to a song by pop star Miley Cyrus.
I kinda like it... pic.twitter.com/Zydz5sDmFb
It’s impolite to keep retweeting #MattGaetzIsATool so please stop retweeting #MattGaetzIsATool— Abbie Guttenberg Youkilis (@AbbieYoukilis) October 29, 2019
Much of the Twitter commentary using the hashtag though, was less than complimentary to Gaetz and by Tuesday evening, Gaetz was getting a bit snarky on his personal Twitter account. Gaetz has two Twitter accounts, one personal @mattgaetz, and another associated with his congressional office, @RepMattGaetz.
In a Twitter exchange with actor Billy Baldwin, in which Baldwin called Gaetz the “President, CEO & Founder of ... The Tool Academy,” Gaetz referenced Baldwin’s lack of serious acting awards, saying Baldwin “couldn’t even get an award from my Tool Academy.”
You couldn’t even get an award from my Tool Academy. https://t.co/HI4Cg09nwT— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) October 30, 2019
Matt Gaetz is what would happen if someone tried to make stupid from concentrate, but forgot to add water.#MattGaetzIsATool— Middle Age Riot (@middleageriot) October 29, 2019
Whoever made this is a genius. @mattgaetz #MattGaetzIsATool pic.twitter.com/jno4zOLVCt— Wirjil (@Wirjil) October 29, 2019
Twitter has previously been a problematic platform for Gaetz. In August, he was chastised, but not formally disciplined, by a Florida Bar Grievance Committee after posting a tweet threatening to expose unsubstantiated extramarital affairs by President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, on the eve of Cohen’s testimony to a congressional committee in which Cohen accused Trump of criminal conduct in connection with a hush-money scheme involving a pornographic movie star.
Gaetz quickly deleted the tweet and apologized to Cohen, long before the Grievance Committee chastised him for it, calling it “unprofessional, reckless, insensitive” and saying it “demonstrated poor judgment.”