Matt Gaetz takes on Twitter, fellow Republicans in latest podcast
Rep. Matt Gaetz. Image via AP.

Gaetz challenged Twitter's status as a protected platform and criticized fellow Republicans for not putting Americans and small businesses first.

In a new episode of his daily podcast, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz tackled Twitter — and fellow Republicans — over the role they played in the nation’s COVID-19 response.

The Northwest Florida Congressman aimed the majority of his volleys at Twitter, accusing the social media platform of breaking its neutrality as a protected public forum by adding fact-checks to President Donald Trump‘s Tuesday tweets about mail-in ballots. On Friday, Gaetz filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission over that unprecedented decision by the Silicon Valley giant.

“It’s about time the Federal Election Commission and the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) as well took action against these digital platforms that are trying to engage in election interference and that I think are violating existing law,” he said. “We do need to clean up the laws we have, but I’m always a fan of starting with enforcing existing law.”

Both Gaetz and Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley have filed legislation that would strip social media platforms of their protections making them not liable for users’ posts. Such legislation, Trump’s executive order and Gaetz’s complaint would help reveal Twitter and other platforms as publishers rather than unbiased forums, Gaetz said.

“Twitter has taken upon itself to free ride on one of the President’s tweets as a campaigning activity,” according to the complaint. “The social media platform is overstepping boundaries and setting aside its privileged role as a mere ‘interactive computer service,’ and instead acting as a ‘shadow contributor’ to the Democratic National Committee.”

The Representative also accused an independent director hired by Twitter of having ties to the Chinese Communist Party, citing an article in The National Pulse. Fei-Fei Li was a former Google vice president and artificial intelligence expert before she was pushed out for controversial comments about Google’s partnership with the Pentagon on its drone program.

Twitter also hid a Friday morning tweet by Trump behind a warning saying it glorified violence, but the Representative did not address that tweet on his show. That tweet addressed riots in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody.

In the episode’s second half, Gaetz addressed the country’s coronavirus response and started by calling out fellow Republicans for a letter they sent to Trump asking the President not to halt a nonagricultural visa program.

“It’s just not reflective of an America First policy when you’ve got tens of millions of Americans unemployed working to get re-on-boarded onto their jobs to be waving the flag of the America Last crowd that would bring in cheap foreign labor,” he said. “Just to be honest with you, that’s what big business wants a lot of time. They want cheap foreign labor, they want it now, and it doesn’t not inure to our country’s benefit.”

And with concerns about COVID-19 reseeding from Latin America, Gaetz said he would need to see more testing and participation from businesses before backing the H-2B visa program, particularly as meatpacking plants remain some of the country’s hot spots. Trump has been “prophetic” about the impact of travel on the pandemic, the Representative added.

“Latin America’s sort of becoming the new Europe in this virus, and I am not optimistic that some of the tools that were used in Europe are going to be as effective in Latin America,” he said.

And Gaetz explained why he voted with the majority on a bill to make information about beneficiaries of the Paycheck Protection Program public. The 147 no votes against the TRUTH Act, all by Republicans, denied supporters the two-thirds majority needed to pass the bill.

“I know businesses in my district and districts all over this great country where companies did not see one diminution in revenue,” he explained. “Some even saw increases in revenue as a consequence of the changes in our life from coronavirus. But because they deemed themselves eligible, they would go and apply for this program.”

He lauded Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for creating a limited amnesty period for businesses to return funds they didn’t need.

“But in the event that didn’t happen, there needs to be enforcement, and the way to guide that enforcement is transparency, and I think the best disinfectant is always a little bit of sunshine,” Gaetz said.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • Ira H Goldman

    May 31, 2020 at 12:09 am

    Gaetz has always been quite a lot off center. From driving while intoxicated to talking and acting ‘without an Brain’ are both dangerous to the public.
    Gaetz must be Defeated on Tuesday, 3 November 2020 by At Least 10 Points!

    • ItsTimeforTruth

      May 31, 2020 at 7:17 am

      That is a a ridiculous comment Ira. What’s dangerous to the public is that there are people who think like you.

      • Lynn C Weckerle

        June 1, 2020 at 4:50 pm

        So you have no problem with a US Senator driving drunk? Matz is so irrelevant! Hes a joke bye boy… You have a problem when anyone posts fake news about Trump but you want Trump to be able to post what ever lies he wants to? GTFOOH spoiled little rich boy

  • Ira H Goldman

    May 31, 2020 at 12:10 am

    Gaetz has always been quite a lot off center. From driving while intoxicated to talking and acting ‘without a Brain’… both are dangerous to the public.
    Gaetz must be Defeated on Tuesday, 3 November 2020 by At Least 10 Points!

  • John Kociuba

    May 31, 2020 at 8:43 am

    Ira Goldman is another Communist Jew like 100 Democrats with Unconstitutional dual citizenship with Communist wing of Israel Mapai/Progressive/Labor Party.

    Guess who’s funding these riots? The United States taxpayer should never fund 501c or 503c interest groups and charities.

    Mobs of illegal immigrants, criminals, communists, satanists, collaborators on social media are burning down businesses, assaulting citizens, threatening our republic.


    • Lynn C Weckerle

      June 1, 2020 at 4:54 pm

      Can you please name all 100 of those so called duel citizenship democrats you clam are in office? I can find them. How do you use communist and Jew to describe the same person? Never mind your a Trump supporter that explains it!!

  • Janine Mauritz

    May 31, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Loser and Weak Spineless Puppet Matt Gaetz is a Donald Trump enabler.

  • John

    May 31, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    The majority of Americans are exhausted from the daily calamity and destruction that is the trump administration. Gaetz is nothing more than a cancerous outgrowth and most certainly will be removed from office as his older constituents realize he represents a threat not only to their health but to finances. Republicans expect and fear the November backlash and with good reason. The majority of the COVID deaths are older and African-Americans. Gaetz and his party have shown a willingness to sacrifice their lives in order to prematurely open the economy. They also have expressed a determination to cut Social Security and Medicare to pay for the ballooning deficit. These older constituents are the very people that can be reliably expected to vote.

  • Janine Mauritz

    June 1, 2020 at 8:54 am

    Strange how the Republican Party has become the Party of Donald Trump. As his own current Party members namely Lindsay Graham and Co called him a BIGOT, RACIST, Xenophobic and would not represent the values of the Republican Party…I wonder what has changed because I know Donald Trump has not. Nothing Patriotic about that. I see alot of people singing for the meals or pay checks.

  • Martin

    June 1, 2020 at 12:47 pm

    Trump is an abject failure of empty promises and no ability to bring anything to the current crisis other than more inciting rhetoric. His handling of the pandemic is a class in incompetence. Gaetz is an
    a_ _ kiss’g poor example of what a congressman should be. Please disappear into the sunset, since you do not represent your constituents in this time of need.

  • PeterH

    June 1, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Democrats gave Republicans a chance to rid America of this pox in the White House. They blew it. ANY silence from Republicans on the economic mess and the pandemic they’ve allowed to fester …. should be interpreted as complicit behavior! Gaetz is a political opportunist with zero leadership skills and poor moral compass ….. in other words a highly qualified Trump supporter!

    “More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” Mr. Obama said in an address streamed online. “A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”


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