(USA Features) GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene kicked off their “America First Rally” tour in the Sunshine State on Friday, hitting on several of on former President Donald Trump’s campaign and administration themes.
The event, which was held in the state’s largest retirement community, The Villages, appears to be an attempt to portray the two young conservative firebrands as heirs to the former president’s brand of populism, the Associate Press noted.
“Tell me, who is your president?” Greene shouted as she walked onto a ballroom stage to hundreds of Trump supporters wearing red “MAGA” ball caps and “Trump” t-shirts.
Gaetz, meanwhile, quipped that while he is a “marked man in Congress” he nonetheless is still “a Florida man,” a reference to reports he is under federal investigation for alleged sex trafficking of a minor female, allegations he has vehemently denied.
He went on to characterized Trump as “the undisputed leader of the Republican Party.”
He also lamented a Republican retreat held in the state last month, saying he didn’t attend for a reason.
“I didn’t go to the Republican retreat because I feel like the Republicans have been in a constant state of retreat. I’m ready for an advance, not a retreat,” he said.
“And they go to the retreat, and basically the whole retreat is Kevin McCarthy fighting with Liz Cheney, and I’m watching this thinking, why did they not listen to us like three, four months ago when we said this is not gonna work?” he added.
When someone’s fundamental view is that we don’t need to work on election integrity, we don’t need to worry about the crisis at the border, we could find four more countries to invade before lunchtime tomorrow, that person should not be the spokesperson of the Republican Party,” Gaetz said of Cheney.
“I don’t know how much you guys know, but we already tried to remove Liz Cheney as our chairwoman. There was a very big effort there. We voted to kick her out a few months ago. We were ahead on this,” Greene added.
Both also played up the purpose of their tour — to spread Trumpism, essentially.
“Today, we send a strong message to the weak establishment in both parties: America First isn’t going away. We are going on tour,” Gaetz said. “It’s no longer the red team against the blue team. It’s the establishment against the rest of us.”
Taylor Greene, meanwhile, has also been ostracized over past comments and social media engagements for which Democrats voted to remove her from her committee assignments. She has brushed off the criticism as partisan politics.
But she and Gaetz nevertheless held themselves up as successors to Trump’s brand of populist politics and challengers to status-quo establishment politics.
“They lie about us because we tell the truth about them,” Gaetz said of the establishment.