Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) on Saturday held a last-minute event on a sidewalk after a third California venue bailed on their plans to host an “America First” rally amid safety concerns.
According to the Orange County Register, Gaetz and Greene held a “Free Speech Peaceful Protest” outside the Riverside City Hall following three cancelations from California venues in light of the lawmakers’ history of incendiary remarks.
On Saturday afternoon, the M3 Live Anaheim Event Center canceled on Gaetz and Greene hours before their event was scheduled to begin — a move that happened after two other venues, the Pacific Hills Banquet & Event Center in Laguna Hills and the Riverside Convention Center, backed out of hosting the lawmakers’ events after owners of the venues received backlash for hosting the event.
The Register reported that Greene and Gaetz decried the cancelations by painting themselves as victims of “cancel culture.”
“And here’s what we’re going to do, America. You’ve got two members of Congress right here and we refuse to be canceled because we won’t let you be canceled,” Greene said, according to the Register.
Gaetz similarly griped over the cancelations to a crowd of more than 100 people, saying that he wants to fight back.
“They may try to cancel us online. They may try to pursue us in real life. They may try to shut down our venues. But we will take this fight to them in the courts, in the halls of Congress and if necessary, in the streets!” Gaetz said, according to the Register.
Earlier Saturday, the city of Anaheim delivered a third blow to the lawmakers’ attempts at holding “America First” rallies by canceling the event less than 10 hours before its scheduled time, according to the Register.
“We respect free speech and we are capable of holding events,” Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster said. “But it was the lack of advance notice for an event that would attract the attention at the level this one would that has raised issues for our city.”
Lyster added that the city has “concerns about the nature of the event” and that it does not reflect “the values we share.”
“We as a city shared our public safety concerns with the operator and the operator shares the concerns,” Lyster said, the Register reported.
Gaetz and Greene, both of whom are Trump loyalists who continue to do the former president’s bidding of pushing the big lie of a “stolen” presidential election, have become embroiled in a series of controversies in recent months.
The Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel across state lines. Gaetz has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Last February, Greene had her committee assignments revoked after her inflammatory social media posts resurfaced, which included musings about the execution of Democratic politicians who are now her colleagues.