Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) on Saturday urged their supporters to fight “in the streets” at a brief, impromptu gathering held outside the city hall in Riverside, Calif., after three successive venues backed out of deals to host a rally.
The right-wing lawmakers spoke for about 12 minutes, far less than the hours-long “America First” rallies they’ve held in other states in recent months, before being whisked off by their security details.
Greene issued a call to supporters to “keep fighting in the streets,” while Gaetz said, “We will take this fight to them in the courts, in the halls of Congress and, if necessary, in the streets.”
Both lawmakers have downplayed the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, in which hundreds of Trump supporters stormed past police and ransacked the building in an effort to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
Gaetz echoed former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election at the rally, stating, “Donald Trump won the last election, and he’s gonna win the next one.”
Greene also reiterated her increasingly anti-vaccine views, slamming coronavirus vaccines as “not FDA approved” – though they have been authorized by the agency for emergency use – and telling supporters not to let their kids be “forced” to take it.
“It’s your body, your choice,” Greene added, echoing language most often used by pro-choice activist despite her own staunch anti-abortion views.
Greene and Gaetz had initially planned to hold their event at a venue in Laguna Hills, Calif., but the operator pulled out last week expressing a desire to “stay clear” of controversy the lawmakers may attract. Venues they booked in Riverside and then in Anaheim, Calif., also pulled out this weekend amid backlash from local officials and community members, forcing them to scramble for a last-minute location.
Gaetz took aim at fellow Republican members of Congress several times during the rally. “Members of Congress, in both political parties, they take money from lobbyists and PACs, and then they do their bidding, not yours,” Gaetz said. He also claimed he and Greene are the only Republicans who refuse donations from lobbyists and PACs – though several others have said they will swear off PACs in recent months.
“We will fight the corrupt forces at the Department of Justice and in the FBI,” Gaetz said at the rally. The comments come as Gaetz is still under federal investigation over allegations of sex trafficking, illegal drug use and obstruction of justice – all of which he has denied.