Rep. Matt Gaetz
, a Florida
Republican who is under federal investigation
for alleged sex trafficking
, suggested on Thursday that his supporters use their Second Amendment rights to fight social media
companies that silence conservatives
“The internet’s hall monitors out in Silicon Valley
think they can suppress us, discourage us,” he said at a rally in Dalton, Georgia
, co-hosted by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene
(R-Ga.). “Well, you know what? Silicon Valley can’t cancel this movement, or this rally, or this congressman. We have a Second Amendment in this country, and I believe we have an obligation to use it.”
Gaetz, a Trump
disciple and leading mouthpiece for Trump's stolen election
lie ahead of the Jan. 6 insurgency, made the comment one day after a gunman killed nine people
in San Jose
's Silicon Valley, continuing a recent spate of mass shootings
across the country.
NEW: Tonight, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, who is under investigation for prostitution and public corruption, suggested conservatives shoot people in Silicon Valley because of their “cancel culture
.” pic.twitter.com/5cOIyAnJDT — Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) May 28, 2021
Gaetz's representative did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Gaetz was speaking as part of an “America First” tour with Greene, which has been described as a Trump rally without Trump. Trump was barred from most mainstream social media platforms earlier this year after his rhetoric sparked the Capitol riot
The two have gone through the usual far-right talking points, focusing on false claims about the 2020 presidential election and railing against Big Tech
, antifa, the media, and RINOs, or "Republicans
in Name Only."
Rep. Adam Kinzinger
(R-Ill.), who has frequently been dubbed "The Trump Whistleblower," slammed Gaetz's remarks on Thursday.
“This is not First Amendment
protected speech; it goes beyond yelling fire in a theater
,” Kinzinger tweeted.
Democrat Ted Lieu of California also chimed in:
Dear @GOPLeader, You should remove Rep Matt Gaetz from the House
Judiciary Committee because it is a conflict of interest for Gaetz to have oversight over the DOJ, which is investigating him for sex crimes. Additionally, Gaetz is urging people to shoot Silicon Valley employees. https://t.co/OccZKeoyVi
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) May 28, 2021
Greene was removed from her committee assignments months after taking office because her previous social media activity showed she had endorsed violence against Democrats
and expressed support for conspiracy theories that mass shootings were staged.
The Justice Department
is looking into allegations that Gaetz paid women
and at least one underage teen to cross state lines for sex.