Cuomo presses GOP lawmaker on religious claim

CNN's Chris Cuomo and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R- FL) clash over newly released text messages between two FBI agents discussing a "secret society."

Posted: Jan 26, 2018 5:39 PM
Updated: Jan 26, 2018 5:39 PM

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz has been one of the most outspoken proponents of the idea that there is some sort of "Deep State" conspiracy within the government -- and the FBI, in particular -- aimed at undermining President Donald Trump.

Of late, he's seized on the fact that the FBI cannot find five months of text messages -- including those of two officials who expressed anti-Trump sentiment -- as evidence of this conspiracy. (Read much more on the text messages and the alleged "secret society" here.)

Of the missing texts -- which are missing from one in every 10 FBI-issued phones from the period December 2016 to May 2017 -- Gaetz said this Wednesday on Fox News:

"It would be the greatest coincidence since the Immaculate Conception that it just happened to be the case that right after Obama sics the intelligence community on Trump, the text messages go dark, and they only reappear the day that Robert Mueller is hired to investigate the President. Come on, the American people won't believe that's a coincidence, and I don't believe it, either."

Which brings us to Wednesday night when Gaetz was interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo on "Cuomo Prime Time." I'm going to excerpt a big chunk of their back and forth because, well, you'll see.

Cuomo: What do you mean by the Immaculate Conception?

Gaetz: Look, I was making a point that this is an absurd coincidence.

Cuomo: By what? What do you think happened with the Immaculate Conception?

Gaetz: The immaculate conception, it's obviously a religious doctrine that deals with the Christian faith.

Cuomo: I know. Where is the analogy? That's what I don't understand. What do you think happened with the Immaculate Conception?

Gaetz: Look, did you really bring me on to discuss my religious views, Chris? I'm a Christian and I believe the Immaculate Conception was how Jesus was born.

Cuomo: I'm saying you made the analogy, and I don't understand. The Immaculate Conception is not how Jesus was born.

Gaetz: It was the conception. That's the nature of the Immaculate Conception.

Cuomo: No, it wasn't. It was Mary's conception. It was the mother's conception without original sin. It was not the conception of Jesus. Facts matter, congressman. If you're going to make an analogy, at least know what you're talking about because you've got to have a basis for these things. You only know what you show. You've got to release that memo. It's got to have the facts and you better figure out what this 'secret society' is before you say there's a shadow organization within the FBI.

Gaetz: We intend to. We intend to, absolutely. We intend to find out what it is. That's why the American people have been learning more and more about the intractable bias in this investigation.

Cuomo: They need facts to back it up and when they get them, you know where you're welcome to come on and make the case. Right here. Appreciate you taking the opportunity.

Gaetz: Thank you.

Oh. My. God.

It's pretty clear right from the start that Gaetz is a little shaky on his Christian theology -- and doesn't want to go into a whole lot of specifics. ("Did you really bring me on to discuss my religious views, Chris?")

But, once Cuomo stays on him, Gaetz goes for broke: "I'm a Christian and I believe the Immaculate Conception was how Jesus was born."

Nope!

As Cuomo -- a good Italian Catholic boy -- rightly points out, the Immaculate Conception has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. It refers to the fact that Mary, his mother, was born without original sin. Jesus' birth is known as the Virgin Birth.

Not knowing the difference isn't the end of the world. Lots and lots of Christians -- although not Cuomo! -- wrongly believe that the Immaculate Conception refers to the fact that Jesus was conceived without Mary and Joseph having sex.

The problem for Gaetz is that he uses this comparison in an attempt to illustrate what he believes to be the massive -- and not coincidental -- coincidence that the FBI can't find text messages from a critical period of time as it relates to the Russia investigation.

Obviously, as Cuomo points out, that alleged un-coincidence has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Mary was born without original sin.

A moment like this proves nothing in relation to the missing FBI texts, of course. But, it does prove that Gaetz doesn't really know what the hell he's talking about.

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