Darren Beattie, who has been paid thousands of taxpayer dollars by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida for speech-writing consultant services, likened restrictions of business and public gatherings during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic to “crimes against humanity.”
In a tweet posted Aug. 17, Beattie wrote: “Covid lockdowns might turn out to be one of the greatest crimes against humanity short of war/genocide.”
Gaetz announced last year that he had hired Beattie, a former White House speechwriter who left the Trump administration after CNN revealed he attended and presented at a conference that regularly draws white nationalist attendees and speakers. The Florida congressman tweeted in April 2019, “Very proud to have the talented Dr. Darren Beattie helping our team as a Special Advisor for Speechwriting. Welcome on board!”
Beattie never joined Gaetz’s congressional staff payroll. Rather, Politico reported in July that Gaetz was disbursing public funds to Beattie for speech-writing consultant services through a limited liability company registered in Wyoming. The arrangement ran afoul of Congressional ethics rules that forbid using taxpayer money to pay speech writers, political consultants and other such outside hires. Gaetz’s aides told Politico at the time that they made a clerical error and were working to fix it.
Political Research Associates reported this month that since Beattie started working with Gaetz, his “connection to White nationalist leaders, and commitment to a range of disturbing supremacist and anti-democratic views, has only deepened.”