At the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida—the theme of which is “American Uncanceled”—Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida railed against so-called cancel culture Friday before turning his wrath on his GOP colleague Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, whom he has sought to cancel.
A Trump loyalist who has rubbed elbows with far-right figures and members of the Proud Boys hate group, Gaetz has targeted Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, for her vote to impeach then-President Donald Trump for inciting a riot on the Capitol Jan. 6. The Florida politician flew to Wyoming to campaign against Cheney, calling on voters to defeat the congresswoman in her primary in 2022 and for the party to strip her leadership position. While a secret ballot on Cheney’s future in the Republican Party has kept her in leadership, it has not diminished Gaetz’s ire.
Approaching the CPAC podium to cheers, Gaetz took a look around the room. “I haven’t gotten that good a warm welcome since I was in Wyoming,” Gaetz said to more applause.
“I’m a canceled man in some corners of the internet. I’m a banned man in the state of New Jersey,” Gaetz lamented, referring to the New Jersey governor’s criticism of him for attending a large, maskless Republican gala in the state despite coronavirus restrictions. “Many days I’m a marked man in Congress, a wanted man by the deep state, but every day, I’m a Florida man, and it’s good to be home.”
After comparing Florida to an amazing woman—“mostly sunny and sometimes crazy”—Gaetz proceeded to criticize Big Tech, the media, and the political establishment.
“Speaking of people who ought to lose primaries, if Liz Cheney were on this stage today, she’d get booed off of it,” Gaetz said. “What does that say? The leadership of the party is not found in Washington, D.C. You are the energy. We are America. That’s why they’re in the eight square miles of Washington, D.C., and we’re here in the sunshine state of Florida.”
“Now, Trump may have not drained the swamp all the way… yet. So if you want to finish the job, maybe hire a Florida man,” Gaetz said, taking the opportunity to promote his own political ambitions. “We’ve drained swamps before, we’ve faced down the alligators and the pythons and the lizards and mosquitoes big as grapefruit. America needs real fighters today, maybe now more than ever, and we must win for we have a country to save.”
“And so come fight with me. Go to MattGaetz.com. Join our America First movement. Now let’s go get them,” he said to a standing ovation.