Williams’ remarkable decision to go public about the feud is a bet that his political future will be improved by laying out its highly personal details. He spoke with POLITICO days after a Syracuse University student journalist shared a video of him in a profanity-laced confrontation with Gordon outside a holiday party in Washington.
Gordon was “trying to exert some leverage over me,” Williams said, “and I just simply won’t allow that to happen.”
Williams, a first-term member in a battleground seat, won his race year by one percentage point. He is one of House Democrats’ top targets to unseat in 2024.
Gordon said that “the allegations Congressman Williams has levied against me are categorically false” and declined to comment further. Sweeney said the “congressman’s allegations are completely false.”
The confrontation with Gordon, which Sweeney filmed, began causing political trouble for Williams soon after its release last week. On the day before indicted former Rep. George Santos was expelled from Congress for a litany of alleged criminal misdeeds — a move that Williams and other New York Republicans led the charge for — Santos called for a House Ethics Committee investigation of Williams because of his behavior in the video.
Williams is seen confronting Gordon outside the party, pointing his finger at Gordon and vowing that if “you f–k with my family, I’ll end every relationship you have.” In response to that on-camera threat, Gordon denied any knowledge of the unspecified allegations at issue.
Williams said that the clash stemmed from a pressure campaign that began after his decision to give Gordon 30 days to find new employment. The ousted aide responded by contacting a GOP campaign consultant close to the lawmaker.
That consultant, Aaron Evans, told POLITICO he went to Williams in recent weeks to relay Gordon’s warning: Before going through with the firing, Gordon said, the lawmaker should think about the potential embarrassment his family would experience if TMZ found out about his daughter’s OnlyFans account.
POLITICO is not publishing the name of Williams’ daughter to protect her privacy.
Williams said in the interview that, a few days prior to that altercation, other aides of his told him that Gordon had shared details of the OnlyFans account widely with other congressional staffers. Gordon was also “saying really rude things about [Williams’] wife,” the lawmaker recalled.
Gordon lived in Williams’ home during part of the latter’s campaign, the lawmaker recalled. But their relationship began unraveling over the course of their months living together and as they worked more closely together in D.C., according to Williams, who described his former chief of staff as “a deeply broken person.”
Williams declined to comment on the specifics behind the dismissals of Gordon and Sweeney. A person with direct knowledge of the personnel matter, granted anonymity to discuss internal office dynamics, said that Sweeney was fired for reasons related to job performance.
After Sweeney recorded the lawmaker during their argument outside the holiday party, Williams said the former aide delivered a personal jab at the lawmaker: “Hey, f–k you! Guess what, bitch? All I have to do is pay $7 to watch your daughter shove her phone up her p—y!”
One eyewitness of the skirmish, however, could not confirm that version of events and recalled seeing Williams leave the area right after knocking Sweeney’s phone out of his hands. This eyewitness, granted anonymity to share recollections of the tense moment, added that the scene was loud and crowded so a comment might have been missed.
Williams’ critics have noted that he has faced multiple staff departures beyond Gordon and Sweeney since taking office. According to the nonpartisan website Legistorm found that he has had three times more turnover than the average House member.
Williams argued that he reshaped his office culture after settling into Congress, removing hires that Gordon had initially made, and said he’s now surrounded by a team he is proud of.