Gaetz was responding to a message posted by singer Bebe Rexha shortly before her 30th birthday in which she lamented the idea that women stop being sexy as they age.
On March 30, 2021, The New York Times reported that Florida U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz was being investigated by the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for a possible sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. The New York Times reported:
Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida and a close ally of former President Donald J. Trump, is being investigated by the Justice Department over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him, according to three people briefed on the matter.
Investigators are examining whether Mr. Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws, the people said. A variety of federal statutes make it illegal to induce someone under 18 to travel over state lines to engage in sex in exchange for money or something of value. The Justice Department regularly prosecutes such cases, and offenders often receive severe sentences.
After the news broke, social media users started talking about past tweets and actions that seemed suspicious. For instance, Gaetz was the only "No" vote on the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act in 2017. Social media users also shared a tweet from Gaetz in which he said that the message "there's no age that you can't be sexy" should be on Florida's welcome signs.
This is a genuine tweet from Gaetz. It is still available on his timeline and an archived version can be viewed here.
While this tweet may appear damaging or suspicious in light of the DOJ investigation, there is a bit of missing context here. Bebe Rexha, a singer, posted the message about being sexy shortly before her 30th birthday. The message was also posted immediately after Rexha posted a longer message about how a music executive had once told her that she was "too old to be sexy."
Rexha's message reads in part:
I recently had a music executive tell me that I was getting too old and that my brand was "confusing." Because ... I'm a songwriter and i post sexy pics on my Instagram and that's not what female songwriters are supposed to do, especially for my age. I'm 29 ...
... I'm tired of women getting labeled as "hags" when they get old and guys get labeled as sexy with age. Anyways, I'm turning 30 on August 30 and you know what, I'm not running away from it.
Gaetz truly did post a message saying that "there's no age that you can't be sexy" should be on Florida's welcome sign. While some may interpret this as some sort of Freudian slip from Gaetz, the original message concerned the idea that women can continue to be sexy as they age out of their 20s.