Rep. Gaetz accused of inciting violence against Silicon Valley after ‘misleading’ video of 2nd Amendment remarks goes viral
Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has come under fire for underscoring the importance of the right to bear arms during a speech in which he took aim at Big Tech censorship. Some have argued that his comments were taken out of context.
The Florida lawmaker made the provocative remarks at an America First rally in Dalton, Georgia on Thursday. Arguing that the Constitution should be used to “strengthen our movement,” Gaetz urged those in attendance to exercise their First Amendment right to “speak and assemble.”
He went on to criticize the “hall monitors” in Silicon Valley, claiming that tech firms were trying to “suppress” and “discourage” conservatives. The lawmaker said patriotic Americans were being pressured to “conform” to agendas pushed by liberal-leaning companies that were acting as gatekeepers to the internet.
“Well, you know what? Silicon Valley can’t cancel this movement, or this rally, or this congressman,” he declared. He then continued with his lecture about the Bill of Rights.
“We have a Second Amendment in this country, and I think we have an obligation to use it,” the congressman said, explaining that the right to bear arms was “not about recreation” but instead “about maintaining, within the citizenry, the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government, if that becomes necessary.”
He stressed that he “hopes” that such an armed rebellion would never be required, but said it was important to “recognize” the country’s founding principles and make sure that they are understood.
The speech caught the eye of pundits after a selectively edited clip of his remarks went viral on Twitter. The 39-second video begins as Gaetz denounces the Big Tech “hall monitors,” and ends just after he encourages Americans to use their Second Amendment rights. By leaving out his earlier comments about the First Amendment, the video makes it appear as if Gaetz is supporting violence against Silicon Valley.
NEW: Tonight Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, who is under investigation over allegations of prostitution and public corruption, suggested conservatives shoot people in Silicon Valley for their “cancel culture.” pic.twitter.com/5cOIyAnJDT— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) May 28, 2021
The video received hundreds of outraged replies, with some replies tagging the FBI in hopes that the remarks would be investigated.
Hello @FBI ? Looks like Matt is hankering for another insurrection.— JustSusan ⭐️ (@TassajaraRd) May 28, 2021
In this horrific speech, a sitting Congressman attempts to incite acts of terror. This is beyond unacceptable; it is a major crime & a betrayal of his oath of office. Prosecutors have a duty to intervene. @HouseGOP has a duty to expel him.— Joseph Robertson (@poet_economist) May 28, 2021
The edited footage was even shared and denounced by fellow Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who said the comments were not protected speech and go beyond “yelling ‘fire’ in a theater.”
The controversy was also picked up by the media. Several outlets appeared to have based stories solely on the edited clip. Business Insider, for example, reported that Gaetz told the crowd they had an “obligation to take up arms against Silicon Valley companies.” The article also excluded Gaetz’s remarks that weren’t included in the viral video.
Mediate and the Daily Mail ran similarly sensational headlines.
In its own write-up of the speech, Newsweek described the viral clip as “misleading” and argued that it was “clear” that the lawmaker was not calling on his supporters to carry out violence against Silicon Valley employees.
Gaetz has been increasingly targeted by liberal pundits and outlets alike after the Department of Justice began probing allegations that he paid young women for sex. He has denied any wrongdoing, claiming the investigation was part of a smear campaign against him.Also on rt.com Big Tech lobbies sue Florida over new law that seeks to punish social media firms for censorship, shadowbanning & deplatforming
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