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Two of the GOP’s loudest voices are having a tough time finding venues that will tolerate their lies and misinformation.
After three separate venues in California’s Orange County pulled out of hosting Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene’s “America First” pro-Trump roadshow, the vocal champions of the far right held a protest outside the third and final venue to cancel their appearance.
“We won’t back down,” Greene said at the protest outside City Hall in Riverside, where the second attempt to hold the rally was canceled. “The radical left wants to threaten you, they want to harass you, they want to target you, and they want to cancel you.”
“You’ve got two members of Congress right here, and we refuse to be canceled because we won’t let you be canceled,” Greene said.
A venue in Laguna Hills canceled Greene and Gaetz’s event after finding out who the speakers were, according to the Press-Enterprise. The second venue, the Riverside Convention Center, canceled the event because of concerns from city officials.
The pair then booked at the M3 Anaheim Live Event Center, but ultimately that, too, was canceled; a city spokesperson told the Press-Enterprise that the cancellation was the result of a lack of adequate notice, as well as the content of Greene and Gaetz’s rally.
“We respect free speech and we are capable of holding events,” Anaheim spokesperson Mike Lyster told the Press-Enterprise. “But it was the lack of advance notice for an event that would attract the attention at the level this one would that has raised issues for our city.”
“Also, we have concerns about the nature of the event and that [it] does not reflect the city of Anaheim and the values we share,” Lyster told the Press-Enterprise.
The America First rallies hosted by Greene and Gaetz—who is currently the subject of an alleged federal investigation into sex trafficking—launched in May, and have largely been a rehash of the same baseless “Big Lie” allegations that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, with some anti-vax disinformation sprinkled on top.
“Don’t let them force your kids to wear masks at school. Don’t let your kids be forced to take a vaccine that’s not FDA-approved,” Greene said Saturday—wrongly: the FDA has granted emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s vaccine for those 12 and older and Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines for those over the age of 18. After a long period of flat case numbers, COVID-19 infections in Orange County have risen 142 percent in the past two weeks, according to the New York Times. More than half of the county’s residents are vaccinated.
Gaetz and Greene were predictably apoplectic about the cancellations. After the city of Riverside released a statement Saturday praising the convention center for cancelling the event, and one city official described Gaetz and Greene as “the antithesis of everything Riverside stands for,” Gaetz threatened a lawsuit.
“These quotes are going to make great exhibits in the lawsuit @RepMTG and I will be filing,” Gaetz tweeted Saturday.
“They may try to cancel us online. They may try to pursue us in real life. They may try to shut down our venues,” Gaetz said Saturday. “But we will take this fight to them in the courts, in the halls of Congress and if necessary, in the streets!”