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Matt Gaetz, GOP congressman, touts hosting Fox News show during shutdown

Fox News pushed back Friday after Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican, hyped his hour-long guest appearance on the network’s “Outnumbered” panel discussion program.

Mr. Gaetz announced in a statement that he would co-host Friday’s episode of “Outnumbered” alongside four regular Fox News commentators and contributors, making his first appearance on the program live from the network’s New York City studio.

Fox News described Mr. Gaetz’s appearance differently, however, issuing a statement later Friday clarifying his participation and repudiating his role.

“Multiple politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle have appeared as the ‘One Lucky Guy’ on Outnumbered as the show is formatted to have a rotating guest. Rep. Gaetz appeared in this capacity and did not co-host the show despite the factually inaccurate press release issued by his office,” Alan Komissaroff, vice president of news for the network, said in a statement.

Appearing at the program’s New York studio during the second day of his second term in Congress — and day 14 of an ongoing partial government shutdown – Mr. Gaetz praised “Outnumbered” moments after being introduced by host Harris Faulkner.

“I’ve done almost every show on your network, but this couch has been my white whale,” said Mr. Gaetz. “The chance to be here with you, this caps a career.”

Mr. Gaetz was not paid to appear on the program, said a Fox News spokesperson, HuffPost reported.

Sitting lawmakers rarely host cable news shows, but Mr. Gaetz is hardly the first elected official to fill-in for Fox News programs. Rep. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, appeared as the “One Lucky Guy” in April 2018, and outgoing Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, also a Republican, co-hosted “The Five” for three consecutive days in Aug. 2018.

Pushback aside, “Outnumbered” is hardly Mr. Gaetz’s most controversial media appearance, however. He appeared in January 2018 on the program hosted by Infowars publisher Alex Jones prior to subsequently denouncing his participation several months later.

“Upon further reflection, I think the things that Alex Jones has said and done are so hurtful to so many people that a member of Congress should not grace that platform and legitimize it, and I will not go back,” Mr. Gaetz said in July 2018.

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