From Northwest Florida Daily News - April 9, 2022
CRESTVIEW — U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz seems to have found a new purpose for life in Congress.
At the first of three Saturday speaking engagements — he would also travel to Milton and McDavid — Gaetz, just a year removed from publicly pondering leaving office, spoke of having embarked upon a mission to populate Congress with leaders who think like him and his cohort, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
These leaders will have the backbone to stand up and work to root out the corruption of the "Biden regime," Gaetz told about 100 cheering supporters, and Greene, who joined him at the Central Baptist Church in Crestview, proclaimed she and Gaetz to be "loud, powerful voices" leading the charge on the mission ahead.
A first step in that mission, Gaetz and Greene said, will be rooting out the Republicans in Name Only standing in their way.
"Right now, there's a Civil War within the GOP, a fight for what it will be when we take back power," said the Georgia congressman, citing former U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, current U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney and U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Mitt Romney as "Rinos" opposing the America First movement.
"They fear us so they smear us," Gaetz said.
Gaetz touched briefly at the beginning of his speech on what he'd accomplished for his 1st Congressional District of Florida in five years in office. He mentioned working to rebuild the military and efforts to make a bypass around the city of Crestview a reality.
Greene outlined their Donald Trump-inspired America First platform as one that would utilize federal tax dollars "on issues you care about." Such issues include securing the U.S. border, economic policies that curtail out of control inflation and energy independence.
Gaetz then turned to the demons haunting Washington, D.C., calling upon his constituents for help in fighting back against "a fundamentally corrupt system."
High on the Gaetz list of corrupt entities was "big media," and on Saturday he took aim at his hometown newspaper, the Northwest Florida Daily News, its sister, the Pensacola News Journal, and the Gannett organization that owns them both.
He railed against a Daily News article that labeled him and Greene "controversial" figures in Washington, D.C., and described them as congressional "outcasts."
"We may be outcasts in Washington D.C., but we'll never be alone when we are with you, the good people of our districts," he told the crowd, which included no local elected officials.
Greene said she would proudly wear the badge of outcast alongside her friend Gaetz.
Gaetz also used his time on stage to deride reports that he'd not been seen publicly in his congressional district for nearly a year after it became public that he was under investigation for, among other things, sex trafficking involving an underaged woman.
Gaetz has not been charged in the case and did not bring up any aspect of it during his approximately hour long speech.
In defense of his extended absence he said. "I am not just a lawmaker in Congress."
"I really want to be your representative, and to be your representative I need to be an expeditionary force," he said.
Gaetz said he'd rather be spending more time in his district, but he feels called to fight for a better Republican Party.
"As much as I would like to be here, we are called to this," he said. "We have to change what's going on in Washington."
Gaetz was also cheered when he spoke of having entered a laptop once owned by President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, into the congressional record. This action, he promised, would preserve forever information on Biden-inspired corruption "that big government, big media and big tech have worked together to suppress."
Gaetz and Greene called for the impeachments of both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
As he prepared to exit the building and head to a second speaking engagement at 3 p.m. in Milton, Gaetz asked his supporters for their support and promised to take his fight for re-election to the several candidates who have signed on to run against him.
"If they want this seat they had better pack a lunch," he said before exiting to the "Rocky III" theme song of "Eye of the Tiger."