Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz's attempt to body-shame a teenage pro-choice activist backfired when she capitalized on his attack and raised more than $550,000 for reproductive rights access in the process.
Gaetz was called out over the weekend after he said women who "look like a thumb" shouldn't concern themselves with advocating for abortion rights.
Gaetz's remarks were his latest dig at reproductive rights activists since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that once protected a person's right to choose reproductive healthcare without excessive government restriction.
During a speech he gave at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Tampa over the weekend, Gaetz said "women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions" at "pro-abortion, pro-murder rallies."
He suggested instead of marching at rallies, unattractive women should "march for like an hour a day" and "get the blood pumpin'."
Olivia Julianna, 19, later responded to Gaetz's comments, specifically his claim that "odious... 5'2 350 pound women" rally for reproductive rights even though they're the ones who "nobody wants to impregnate."
She noted that she is 5'11"—and 6'4" in heels, which she wears "so the small men like you are reminded of your place."
She added that in her personal experience, Republican men are the ones "who grovel for attention the most" and that they "LOVE to go after women on the left."
Gaetz later responded by taking a screenshot of Julianna's Twitter profile picture and referring to her as "dander raised."
Gaetz's attack presented Julianna with an opportunity, and she announced she would be fundraising for the youth-led nonprofit Gen-Z for Change, which splits donations across abortion funds in all 50 states "where services are most needed."
She pointed out that the last time she brought attention to an online attack, contributors managed to raise "a few thousand dollars."
Contributors outdid themselves this time, raising more than $550,000 as of this writing.
Many people praised Julianna for speaking out, including Hillary Clinton, and some attacked Gaetz in the process.
Gaetz's attack denigrating reproductive rights activists' appearances brings to mind a similar remark he made in May shortly after a leaked draft opinion indicated the Supreme Court's ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization would move to strike down Roe.
Gaetzwas heavily criticized after he referred to pro-choice activists as "over-educated, under-loved millennials" and suggested they're angry about a rightward shift in reproductive rights only because they can't get matches on dating apps.
Writing on Twitter, he said women protesting the fall of Roe will likely "sadly return from protests to a lonely microwave dinner with their cats" and "no matches" on Bumble, a popular online dating application.