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Thursday, January 7, 2021

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz goes all-in on false conspiracies blaming antifa for Capitol attack on House floor

Posted By on Thu, Jan 7, 2021 at 12:48 PM

  • Screenshot courtesy CSPAN/Youtube
Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz propped up what remained of his human form on the House floor late last night and blamed Democrats and the antifacist group antifa for yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, which resulted in four deaths and dozens of arrests.

“This morning, President Trump explicitly called for demonstrations and protests to be peaceful. He was far more — you can moan and groan — but he was far more explicit about his calls for peace than some of the BLM and left-wing rioters were this summer when we saw violence sweep across this nation,” Gaetz said.

The Fort Walton Republican then cited a report from the Washington Times that suggested antifa was involved in the assault on the Capitol.

“I don’t know if the reports are true,” said Gaetz, “but the Washington Times has just reported some pretty compelling evidence from a facial-recognition company showing that some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters. They were masquerading as Trump supporters. And in fact, they were members of the violent terrorist group, antifa.”

The problem, as Buzzfeed pointed out, is that the story from Washington Times is completely fabricated.

From Buzzfeed:
XRVision told BuzzFeed News it has asked the conservative outlet for a retraction and apology over the story, which was cited in the House of Representatives after the riot late Wednesday by Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, an ardent Trump supporter.

On Wednesday, the Washington Times published a story that claimed XRVision “used its software to do facial recognition of protesters and matched two Philadelphia Antifa members to two men inside the Senate.” It claimed one man “has a tattoo that indicates he is a Stalinist sympathizer” and the other “is someone who shows up at climate and Black Lives Matter protests in the West.” The story did not name the men or provide evidence that they were involved in antifa, a decentralized group of "anti-fascists" who go to protests around the US and whom the right often uses as a bogeyman.

An attorney representing XRVision, which says it was founded in 2015 in Singapore, issued a statement to BuzzFeed News refuting the Washington Times story. The statement said XRVision’s software actually identified two members of neo-Nazi organizations and a QAnon supporter among the pro-Trump mob — not antifa members.
Of course, none of this matters, since Gaetz wasn't alone in perpetuating this lie that antifa was somehow involved, and he ultimately did what he came to do, which was to place a meaningless but symbolic vote to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

But this isn’t the first time Gaetz has exposed his whole ass to support President Trump, like when he defended Trump’s “shithole countries” comment by saying Haiti was just sheet metal and garbage, or when he tried to blame the migrant caravan on George Soros, or when he downplayed coronavirus by jokingly wearing a gas mask on the House floor. Really, this list could go on forever.

Coincidentally, the congressman’s own sister took to Twitter last night to urge Republicans to stop perpetuating this "garbage" and accept reality.

“A lot of Republicans — and a lot of Trump supporters, specifically — don’t support this garbage. Moreover, they live in reality and know Trump lost,” tweeted Erin Gaetz, who runs the digital content firm Southpaw Media. “If you are one of those people, now is the time to speak up. Denounce this in the strongest, most unequivocal terms. Don’t wait.”

Unfortunately, Matt was not one of those people, and he ended his time at the podium still declaring that the election was rigged without a shred of evidence.

“States that do not run clean elections should be stripped of their electors,” Gaetz said. “This fraud was systemic. It was repeated. It was the same system, and I dare say it was effective.”

This story was originally posted at our sister paper Creative Loafing Tampa.

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