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Florida congressman turns Trump support into recognition

FILE- In this Oct. 8, 2019 photo, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, ranking member of the Committee on Oversight Reform, foreground, accompanied by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., center, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Gaetz is an unabashed supporter of President Trump, defending him on the impeachment inquiry, the investigation into Russia meddling in U.S. elections and other issues. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

NICEVILLE, Fla. — Long before Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz was calling the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee “Captain Kangaroo,” he built a reputation as an agitator who wasn’t shy about calling out other lawmakers on social media or with reporters.

During a news conference Tuesday, Gaetz mocked Democratic U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who is leading the impeachment probe into President Donald Trump’s conversation with the Ukraine about political rival Joe Biden.

Gaetz said the impeachment is a “kangaroo court, and Chairman Schiff is acting like a malicious Captain Kangaroo.”

Gaetz is only in his third year in Congress, yet he’s already become nationally recognized as one of Trump’s most ardent defenders. While liberal Democrats love to hate him, his style works in his Florida Panhandle district, one of the most conservative in Florida.

Brendan Farrington, The Associated Press