Republican Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida—one of the staunchest supporters of Trump's "Stop The Steal" propaganda campaign and who continued to object to election results even after the violent insurrection at the Capitol—went on the defensive after the riot was vehemently rejected nationwide.
Gaetz debuted his strategy during the debate before President Donald Trump's second impeachment.
Gaetz's defense for Trump's role in the Capitol riot was to admit the POTUS bore some responsibility, but then make false equivalencies between the insurrection and the Black Lives Matter protests after the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
During the impeachment debate, Gaetz claimed Democratic leadership in Washington had lit "actual fires" during the summer's BLM protests.
You can watch his defense of Trump here:
Rep. Matt Gaetz just threw a tantrum on the House floor and falsely claimed Democratic leaders lit actual flames du… https://t.co/tLjd21CvTo— NowThis (@NowThis)1610562448.0
Gaetz's so-called "tantrum" involved him screaming on the house floor for several minutes.
"For months, our cities burned," Gaetz yelled.
"And they said nothing or they cheerlead for it... Now some have cited the metaphor that the president lit the flame—well they lit actual flames, actual fires!"
@nowthisnews He really should stay away from talking about flames, all that hairspray makes him highly flammable— ♚ Leya Falcon ♚ (@♚ Leya Falcon ♚)1610563414.0
The only areas that burned for months were those affected by wildfires.
President Trump balked at providing disaster relief for those areas in the same manner he withheld pandemic aid for states not loyal to him personally.
@nowthisnews I think congress should be sworn in and all statements be made under oath and penalty of perjury durin… https://t.co/eqQV16gq4j— daWandaful1 (@daWandaful1)1610562790.0
@nowthisnews This party is so ensconced in the “I know you are but what am I?” defense mechanism. Somebody needs t… https://t.co/nX4JqWid2h— 3 (@3)1610562983.0
@nowthisnews That was right-wing terrorists, too.— Cate Eland (@Cate Eland)1610563286.0
Gaetz's outlandish claims earned him boos and jeers from other House members.
“The left has incited far more violence than the right,” Gaetz says to resounding boos and jeers in the chamber as his speaking time expired— Grace Panetta (@Grace Panetta)1610562251.0
@grace_panetta @MikeDelMoro What the hell has this guy been eating ? I want none of that.— Kiet Tang (@Kiet Tang)1610562318.0
@grace_panetta He's such a pile of damp trash.— Andy Gill (@Andy Gill)1610562794.0
@THETonyMorrison Floridians we need to get him, Scott and Desantis out.— Jaynemoore89 (@Jaynemoore89)1610578499.0
According to NBC News:
"As Gaetz began his speech, Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., lifted his right hand and pointed his finger to his head and twirled it as if to signal that Gaetz is crazy. He later shook his head several times through Gaetz's speech."
Despite Gaetz's repeated protests, the House Of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump for inciting the insurrection at the Capitol.
Ten GOP members crossed the aisle and voted for impeachment.
@THETonyMorrison American Psycho— Trumpkin the Blumpkin (@Trumpkin the Blumpkin)1610564614.0
watching matt gaetz get booed off t he podium gives me hope for America https://t.co/S7mZWCZpCP— Maltye (@Maltye)1610562568.0
the sound of matt gaetz getting booed just cleared my skin— jessica almost alba (@jessica almost alba)1610562306.0
-Matt Gaetz getting booed as he rightfully deserves to for trying to equate Black Lives Matter protests to domestic… https://t.co/TtFlTX7Afd— CuRii GOAT ✨🌻 (@CuRii GOAT ✨🌻)1610562427.0
Matt Gaetz getting booed down. Finally stand up to this fool!— @earbeans (@@earbeans)1610562267.0
From the House, Trump's impeachment goes to the Senate for conviction or acquittal which can be done even after his term ends.
Gaetz does not appear to be backing down, as he recently retweeted an article from The Daily Caller—a right-wing news and opinion website founded by Tucker Carlson—about how the left "lit actual fires."
Going forward, members of Congress who objected to the election results on January 6 are likely to face intensified scrutiny by both houses of Congress. Gaetz will undoubtedly be at the top of that list.