Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz blamed Democrats and left-wing activists for political violence in a Wednesday floor speech.
Speaking in opposition to the impeachment of President Donald Trump, Gaetz expressed outrage at the entire impeachment process. “President Trump may be most likely to be impeached when he is correct,” Gaetz said, alluding to Trump’s complaints about the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference, the “Biden crime family,” and his allegations of election fraud in Pennsylvania.
“Some have cited the metaphor that the President lit the flame. Well, they lit actual flames. Actual fires,” Gaetz said, alluding to race riots in the summer of 2020 in cities such as Minneapolis and Kenosha. Shouting from the Congressional gallery erupted as Gaetz finished his remarks. He and the members of Congress in the gallery were gavelled down by House presiding officer and Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum.
After his remarks on the House floor, Gaetz tweeted out an article from Townhall covering his speech.
The left in America has incited far more political violence than the right.https://t.co/cSxNVkgxA1
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) January 13, 2021
Gaetz specifically blamed “the gentle-lady from Massachusetts” and “the gentle-lady from California” for rhetoric endorsing violence. In August 2020, Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts told MSNBC’s AM Joy, “There needs to be unrest in the streets for as long as there’s unrest in people’s lives.” Maxine Waters of California told attendees at a Keep Families Together rally in June 2018, “If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. Tell them they’re not welcome any more, anywhere!”
Gaetz has been a stalwart supporter of President Trump since both were elected in 2016. When Trump was impeached for the first time, in 2019, Gaetz led a group of Republican lawmakers in interrupting a classified intelligence briefing in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF).