During a rally on May 27, 2021, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, made remarks that earned him condemnation, particularly in light of the fact that U.S. Senate Republicans voted on May 28 to block a bipartisan committee to study the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Gaetz's fellow Republican House member, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, for example, accused Gaetz of inciting violence:
Gaetz, who is under investigation in a federal sex trafficking probe, stated during the rally in Dalton, Georgia:
And so let us use the Constitution to strengthen our argument and our movement. We have a First Amendment right to speak and assemble, and we better use it. 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. The Second Amendment, this is a little history lesson for all the fake news media, the Second Amendment is not about, it's not about hunting, it's not about recreation, it's not about sports. 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 make that they are fully understood.
Video of Gaetz' comment can be viewed here:
It's not the first time Gaetz has made such a remark. Although he had been railing against alleged speech suppression on social media platforms, Gaetz posted a similar statement on May 28 to Twitter:
He also made a similar statement on May 7, 2021, during a rally in Florida.
Gaetz has been holding rallies with fellow U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, a Qanon conspiracy theory supporter who won her seat representing Georgia's 14th Congressional District after running unopposed in 2020.
Both Greene and Gaetz are vocal promoters of former U.S. President Donald Trump, who incited the attack on the Capitol with a disinformation campaign falsely alleging the election was stolen via a mass-scale voter fraud conspiracy.
Four people died that day, and three police officers who defended the Capitol died in the days after. Roughly 140 police officers were injured, some seriously. As a result of this violence, Trump has been banned by mainstream social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.