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Trade, defense and special interests? Matt Gaetz says the right and left have common ground

The Pensacola Republican and California progressive Rep. Ro Khanna both say they share mutual interests.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz wants populists in Congress on the right and the left to work together against the party establishments on trade, defense and special interests, the Pensacola Republican said Wednesday.

In an evening appearance on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle, Gaetz credited California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna as his inspiration to swear off donations from political action committees.

“We need to defang the PACs and special interests in Washington, D.C., who own Congress or none of this will change,” Gaetz told Laura Ingraham.

Wednesday evening’s show highlighted possible common ground between progressives and a new age of conservatives in the vein of President Donald Trump.

On the campaign trail, President-elect Joe Biden touted his history as a dealmaker across the aisle, and the Democrat drew endorsements from the likes of former Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich. But Biden and pro-war Democrats’ alliances are with neo-conservatives, Gaetz said, while young Americans are weary of war.

“If you look at the type of people that Joe Biden wants to put in the Cabinet for our country, it is a reversion back to the establishment,” Gaetz said. “He acts like he’s reaching for Republicans, but he’s reaching in all the wrong places. He wants the trade policy of Paul Ryan and he wants the defense, national security policy of Dick Cheney.”

Even with Trump set to leave the White House in January, the Representative suggested Trump has made a lasting impact in the nation’s capital with a stronger anti-war, anti-globalization coalition.

“I believe that the coalition will be larger in the next Congress than in the last Congress based on the influence that Donald Trump has had on the Republican Party and on the types of candidates that he has inspired to run for Congress,” Gaetz said.

“We have to remember that Donald Trump won by challenging the establishment in both parties, not just the Democratic Party, and now it appears that Joe Biden wants to serve as the valet for the establishment in both parties,” he added.

Biden’s Cabinet picks announced so far include Antony Blinken for Secretary of State, Alejandro Mayorkas for Secretary of Homeland Security and Michèle Flournoy for Secretary of Defense. Several of the President-elect’s picks have drawn opposition from Republicans, who could control the Senate with a win in one of two races in Georgia next month.

Written By

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 and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.

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