Once upon a time, politicians held political rallies in order to get themselves elected to public office. Now, at least for two celebrity extremists, the idea is to get elected to Congress in order to hold political rallies, as the Washington Examiner explains:
Firebrand Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia are teaming up to start an “America First Tour” of rallies around the country.
The premiere event will be next week, on May 7 in Florida at The Villages, the world’s largest retiree playground with a reliably Republican base.
The timing is interesting, coming in the middle of a firestorm of bad publicity and possible criminal liability for Gaetz, and not long after Greene was denied House committee assignments because of her incendiary social-media history. Gaetz is being investigated for possible involvement in a sex-trafficking scheme involving minors, with “gross and lewd twists” in his story emerging nearly every day, as the Cut’s Amanda Arnold and Mia Mercado put it in an explainer on the saga. Greene is fresh from an embarrassing incident where she was associated with a nascent America First Caucus, whose hilariously offensive “manifesto” was leaked and universally denounced; she blamed her staff for the fiasco. (Gaetz had announced he would be joining the caucus before it imploded).
It’s not exactly clear what Gaetz and Greene intend to accomplish with their rally series, though Greene seemed to suggest it’s a sort of tribute to the 45th president:
“President Donald Trump showed Republicans how to fight,” Greene said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. “And President Trump also taught us how to hold a rally! Bringing people together to put America First is the only way we will Save America and Stop Socialism. That’s why my friend Matt Gaetz and I are launching our America First Tour.”
With Trump already holding the GOP largely in his thrall, and with Republicans in Congress working to foil Joe Biden and his “socialist” allies each day, what’s the point of wandering around the country whipping up crowds into a mega-MAGA frenzy? It’s too late for Trump to save Gaetz from the hoosegow with the pardon the congressman reportedly sought. And Greene has shown herself perfectly capable of attracting attention to her outlandish views without leaving the friendly confines of Facebook and Twitter.
Perhaps there is a unscratched itch out there for people who yearn for the opportunity to put on red hats and QAnon T-shirts and risk COVID-19 in order to vent their rage at the current trajectory of the country they claim to love so deeply. If so, Gaetz and Greene are just keeping the movement humming with manic energy until the Boss returns like a sort of vengeful savior. In Gaetz’s case, it certainly beats answering questions about teenage girls.