Who would’ve guessed that a sitting congressman cyberbullying a teenager would’ve ended in a win for the teen?
Here’s how it all went down:
Speaking at the Turning Point USA summit in Florida on Saturday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) mocked abortion rights activists with some good old-fashioned misogyny.
“Why is it that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions? Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb,” the congressman said.
“These people are odious from the inside out,” he added. “They’re like 5’2″, 350 pounds.”
It’s a familiar line of attack from Gaetz. In May, he derided abortion right protesters as “over-educated, under-loved millennials who sadly return from protests to a lonely microwave dinner with their cats, and no Bumble matches.”
(Speaking of Gaetz’ standards, the congressman is currently under federal investigation for alleged sex trafficking involving a teenager).
Olivia Julianna, a 19-year-old abortion rights activist at the nonprofit Gen-Z for Change, dragged Gaetz via Twitter on Sunday.
“Its [sic] come to my attention that Matt Gaetz — alleged pedophile— has said that it’s always the ‘odious.. 5’2 350 pound’ women that ‘nobody wants to impregnate’ who rally for abortion,” she tweeted. “I’m actually 5’11. 6’4 in heels. I wear them so the small men like you are reminded of your place.”
Gaetz responded by tweeting Julianna’s profile picture with a Newsmax article on his comments about abortion rights activists’ looks.
Julianna fired back by asking the congressman a pertinent question: “Am I not a little too old for you Matt? I know you have a thing for targeting teenagers but 19 is on the cusp don’t you think?”
And then she saw an opportunity in the attention Gaetz, with his 1.4 million Twitter followers, had directed her way.
“In honor of Matt Gaetz publicly body shaming me, I’ll be fundraising for the @genzforchange abortion fund,” the teen activist tweeted with a link to the fundraiser on Monday night. “The Gen-Z for Choice fund splits donations across states where services are most needed.”
The donations came pouring in, and 24 hours later, Julianna thanked Gaetz for helping her raise an extra $50,000.
Several hours later, the activist reported on Tuesday night that the fundraiser had reached a staggering $115,000.
Meanwhile, Gaetz’ office wants you to know that the Republican definitely isn’t bothered about getting owned by a teenager on Twitter dot com.
A spokesperson for Gaetz told TPM in an emailed statement on Wednesday that the U.S. is “now a pro-life nation” with Roe v. Wade being overturned, and “no amount of solicitations will change that.”
Asked by Teen Vogue where she got the confidence to go toe-to-toe with a member of Congress, Julianna pointed to her love of wrestling.
“I don’t think I’ve ever said this in an interview but I grew up obsessed with professional wrestling and WWE and I truly believe that my comeback ability and my confidence in times of arguments or attacks 100% comes from years of watching WWE and scripted conflict,” she said.