Rep. Matt Gaetz and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene were in Florida on Friday to kick off a “Make America First” tour that will seek to remind the 72 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump that the former president may be silenced but his ideas and crusade are alive and well.
The two Trump loyalists were in a Florida retirement community, The Villages, where they spoke to a raucous crowd of seniors with a sprinkling of younger folk about the stolen election, the Democrats drift into socialism, and members of their own party looking to deny Trump a leadership role in the party.
Both congressmen are controversial. Greene is a former believer in QAnon conspiracy theories who lost her committee seats after threatening another member, and Gaetz is being investigated for sex trafficking. Both say they have been unfairly targeted by the deep state because of their conservative beliefs.
After entering to “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, Greene stoked baseless election fraud fears in her wide-ranging speech, asking the crowd if they thought Biden actually won the 2020 election. The crowd answered with a resounding no. She denounced RINOs for what she saw as failing to keep promises and touted her quixotic bid to impeach President Joe Biden.
In his fiery speech, Gaetz laid into favorite MAGA targets, including big tech, the so-called “deep state” and the establishment. He laid into Cheney, cheering the movement to push her out of leadership, while pushing GOP leadership to be more populist.
The resentment and anger at Liz Cheney and other “RINOs” has fully boiled over and Gaetz and Greene, along with other Trump loyalists, are looking to purge them from the party. And their number one priority is getting Liz Cheney.
A spokesman for former President Trump says that defeating GOP Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) in her 2022 midterm primary election is a top goal for the former president amid escalating tensions between the two in recent days.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller told The Washington Post in an interview published Saturday that political advisers to Trump have started making calls to Wyoming officials and discussing potential primary challengers for Cheney’s seat.
The spokesman added that ousting Cheney was “one of the highest priorities as far as primary endorsements go.”
Addition by subtraction has never worked in politics. You don’t win elections by shrinking the party. But this apparently doesn’t matter to Donald Trump and acolytes like Gaetz and Greene who are angry at Cheney for voting to impeach Trump and for saying mean things about him.
Some would conclude that the messengers, in this case, were flawed and that Trump could do better. On the contrary, as the Floridians who attended the America First Tour make clear, Gaetz and Greene were perfect ambassadors for Trump’s message.
Many rallygoers said they didn’t believe the allegations against Gaetz, and they also didn’t care about Greene’s past or her controversial statements.
“I really admire both,” said James Dragon, of The Villages who wore a “Trump 2024” hat. “They’re incredibly brilliant people, very bold, courageous.”
Dragon said he knows Greene for her “standing so firm for the Second Amendment. … And she scared Nancy Pelosi to death, thinking that Marjorie Taylor Greene is going to bring arms into the House.”
Carl Rittenhouse of The Villages said he didn’t know too much about Greene, “But I know something about Gaetz. I like him. And I like I know he’s been having a little trouble. But I think that’ll get all squared away.”
Details of the tour haven’t been finalized but Gaetz promised they would take their show all over the country to help elect Trump and crush his enemies.