Though currently embroiled in a criminal investigation for sex trafficking of a minor, far-right Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida has done anything but keep a low profile.
In fact, Gaetz is on tour with Republican Congresswoman and prominent conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. Together, they continue to heap praise upon former President Donald Trump while dismissing the severity of the deadly insurrection against the United States Capitol that his election lies prompted this past January.
Gaetz is accused of urging supporters to do it again if private companies don't join them in their adoration of Trumpism.
Here is Matt Gaetz behaving just like his idol, Trump inciting violence because he feels vulnerable. "We have a Se… https://t.co/8cIusWCgLa— Matt Rogers 🎙️ (@Matt Rogers 🎙️) 1622167262.0
Gaetz told a group of supporters in Georgia:
"The internet's hall monitors out in Silicon Valley, they think they can suppress us, discourage us. Maybe if you're just a little less patriotic. Maybe if you just conform to their way of thinking a little more, then you'll be allowed to participate in the digital world, Well, you know what? Silicon Valley can't cancel this movement, or this rally, or this congressman. We have a Second Amendment in this country, and I think we have an obligation to use it."
Big tech has become a favorite bogeyman of the far-right, largely due to the expanded moderation of social media accounts proven to provoke violence—such as the now-defunct Twitter of former President Donald Trump—or accounts that promote potentially harmful disinformation.
To lawmakers like Gaetz, this amounts to the silencing of conservatives.
The comments come just months after a mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the United States Capitol, motivated by Trump's election conspiracy theories (which Gaetz also supported).
People accused Gaetz of calling on supporters to commit violence similar to that of the failed insurrection.
This is not speech protected by the first amendment. This is beyond yelling fire in a theater. https://t.co/FyIcIqqsIl— Adam Kinzinger (@Adam Kinzinger) 1622166353.0
In a civilized country, publicly advocating terrorism would . . . oh I don't know, maybe disqualify a person from… https://t.co/RI248q9oCB— Walter Shaub (@Walter Shaub) 1622204344.0
Did he just tell them to murder people??? https://t.co/DvxjM50HiZ— Eric Garcia for Congress (@Eric Garcia for Congress) 1622175040.0
This rhetoric is so dangerous. This arguably more dangerous than Trump/riot situation. He's literally inciting his… https://t.co/42SVctAPog— CAZM (@CAZM) 1622174344.0
For Gaetz's part, he claims the selected clip was misleading, and that he'd begun the Silicon Valley diatribe with an emphasis on the First Amendment, and that his segue into the Second Amendment was a completely separate point promoting armed insurrection against the government.
The rest of the Second Amendment portion of the speech read:
"The Second Amendment is about maintaining, within the citizenry, the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government if that becomes necessary. I hope it never does, but it sure is important to recognize the founding principles of this nation, and to make sure that they are fully understood."
Gaetz's comments went viral on the same day Senate Republicans blocked legislation that would have formed a bipartisan commission to investigate the Capitol Riots.
Even though the bill had the support of a majority of the Senate, it couldn't advance to debate due to the filibuster.
People pointed to Gaetz's comments as a reason the commission was necessary.
Why do we need a January 6 Commission? Because the threat is ongoing. See below. https://t.co/mvNliO485N— Amanda Carpenter (@Amanda Carpenter) 1622158901.0
@LeaderMcConnell the party has gone down a DARK path. Stop your opposition to the 1/6 commission and ROOT THESE PEO… https://t.co/K2d88xXnCK— Marcus Fife (@Marcus Fife) 1622162486.0
@GOPLeader @LeaderMcConnell this guy is flapping his lips inciting these wackos and you are against the commission… https://t.co/N1Ma6MNRTI— DAISYMAY722 (@DAISYMAY722) 1622169442.0
Gaetz has yet to face any rebuke from House Republican leadership.