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Matt Gaetz to target Charlie Crist with ‘Stop the Madness’ pro-Trump rally in St. Pete

It’s part of a massive campaign to shield the President from impeachment.

Congressman Matt Gaetz will be in downtown St. Petersburg on Monday to defend President Donald Trump and call on Pinellas County Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist and his party to drop impeachment proceedings against the President.

Gaetz is speaking on behalf of a new effort called “Stop the Madness” that aims to curb what supporters see as “extreme actions and politically motivated behavior” related to the impeachment process.

The Republican National Committee launched a website to go along with the new campaign aimed at protecting Trump. It’s in addition to a $2 million television and digital advertising blitz targeting more than 60 Democrats nationwide the Republican Party views as vulnerable.

The new website includes information on how supporters can sign up to volunteer and how to plan a counter-protest.

Gaetz will speak at Crist’s downtown St. Pete office at 696 First Ave. N. The event begins at 1 p.m.

The event comes as news coming out of Washington continues to pile up implicating the President in potentially impeachable offenses related to a July 25 phone call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Democrats allege there was an obvious quid pro quo issued.

The White House had been withholding a $391 million aid package to Ukraine. In the call, Trump urged Zelensky to open an investigation into former President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

However, Trump and his Republican allies are defending the call saying there was no quid pro quo and, later, arguing the President is perfectly within his right to ask foreign governments to investigate corruption.

Trump’s claims about Biden and his son have been widely debunked.

More details seem to be arriving by the hour, including an overnight development that included text messages between officials and Kurt Volker, former special envoy to Ukraine, furthering Democratic contentions that Trump or other White House officials sought help investigating Trump’s political foe.

Gaetz’s event shows Republicans are still not caving to the onslaught of news, dismissed in Trump’s world as a “witch hunt,” a “coup” and even “bullsh*t.”

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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