Top Trump allies Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and ex-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon mulled a plan on Thursday to establish thousands of “shock troops” to go after their political enemies.
During an interview on Bannon’s “War Room” podcast, Gaetz argued that “stagecraft is statecraft” and “sometimes you’ve got to raise your voice to raise a ruckus and to raise an army of patriots who love this country and will fight for her.”
“And if we get more of them in Congress, then that’s exactly what we’re gonna do,” the Republican lawmaker declared. “We’re gonna operationalize the performance to go right after the people who are imposing the vaccine mandates, who are enriching themselves and who are selling out the country.”
Bannon praised Gaetz’s “theory of governing” as “fresh and new.”
“This is Trumpism in power,” the former White House adviser said. “That’s when we went to the 4,000 shock troops we have to have that’s going to man the government, and get them ready now. We’re going to hit the beach with the landing teams and the beachhead teams and all that nomenclature they use when President Trump wins again in 2024, or before.”
“You’re going to have those as the 4,000 political appointees […] No more powderpuff derby,” Bannon continued. “This is going to be hardcore accountability at every committee.”
“Yes,” Gaetz agreed.
Ex-President Donald Trump has not confirmed whether he’ll run for reelection in 2024, though he’s strongly hinted that he might.
Gaetz and Bannon both eagerly fueled Trump’s efforts to delegitimize the 2020 election and peddle the Big Lie, which ultimately led to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. The day before the riot, Bannon told his listeners that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow” and “strap in […] tomorrow it’s game day.”
That rhetoric made Bannon a major target in the House Jan. 6 Select Committee’s investigation into the attack, but the former Trump official has refused to cooperate with the probe, prompting the Justice Department to charge him with criminal contempt. Bannon has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
As for Gaetz, his comments on Thursday weren’t the first time the congressman has flirted with endorsing political violence: During a rally in May, Gaetz declared that the Second Amendment was about “maintaining within the citizenry the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government.”
Listen to Gaetz and Bannon’s discussion below: