Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, ever-defiant in the face of controversy, will continue their speaking tour Thursday.
The pair, two of the more provocative members of Congress, will regale what should be an overflow crowd in the Congresswoman’s home market. They will speak Thursday evening in Dalton, Georgia, at the Dalton Convention Center.
Doors open at 5 p.m. and the speeches begin 90 minutes later.
The Gaetz and Greene show is typically backdropped by controversy, and this week’s edition involves Greene comparing proof of vaccination to the yellow stars used during the Holocaust by Nazis to mark Jews.
“Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear a gold star. Vaccine passports & mask mandates create discrimination against unvaxxed people who trust their immune systems to a virus that is 99% survivable,” Greene tweeted Tuesday.
Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.
Vaccine passports & mask mandates create discrimination against unvaxxed people who trust their immune systems to a virus that is 99% survivable.https://t.co/6X6VNolcA7
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) May 25, 2021
Outrage immediately followed.
The Auschwitz Museum condemned Greene’s comparison: “instrumentalization of the tragedy of Jews who suffered, were humiliated, marked with a yellow star, isolated in ghettos & murdered during the Holocaust, in a debate on different systems that aim at protecting public health is a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decline.”
Gaetz did not respond to Florida Politics’ request for comment but did engage the controversy not by addressing the grotesque metaphor, but by pointing out Greene’s purported support for Israel.
“Democrats attack Israel,” Gaetz tweeted. Greene “defends Israel and attacks Democrats. Media falsely slams MTG as anti-Semitic. Some Republicans take the bait, sadly.”
Indeed, among those Republicans are members of leadership, even as they seem unwilling to take any action.
“Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling,” House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy told The Associated Press. “The fact that this needs to be stated today is deeply troubling.”
However, Gaetz could suggest that his own example illustrates the need for caution when rushing to judgment.
Earlier this year, reports surfaced of a federal investigation into Gaetz, purportedly swirling around his relationship with former Central Florida politician Joel Greenberg, who has pleaded guilty to six counts including sex trafficking.
Yet as the weeks pass between the initial reports, the guilty plea of Greenberg, and the present day, it appears Gaetz is breathing a bit easier, especially as he has not been charged and continues to aggressively counter-message that the allegations are completely untrue and intended to de-platform him.
On Wednesday, he repeatedly pulled quotes from a piece in POLITICO describing the “Gaetz show” and suggesting that what doesn’t kill the Congressman politically could make him stronger.
“Gaetz isn’t acting like a guy who’s guilty … Gaetz is filling the void left by Donald Trump being booted off Twitter … Hundreds, if not thousands, came to see the two in Florida, Ohio and Arizona,” read a curated set of raves.
Greene and Gaetz have barnstormed the country, of course, and Gaetz continues to press his case.
In Ohio, Gaetz said the accusations were false, and suggested they distracted from reinstituted congressional earmarks, as reported by NBC News.
“I’m being falsely accused of exchanging money for naughty favors,” Gaetz said at the Ohio Political Summit. “Yet, Congress has reinstituted a process that legalizes the corrupt act of exchanging money for favors, through earmarks, and everybody knows that’s the corruption.”
In Arizona more recently, the comments were more muted, with Gaetz telling the crowd “thank you for having my back.”
Reportedly, federal investigators are probing a 2018 trip Gaetz took with Jason Pirozzolo and Halsey Beshears to the Bahamas.
Prosecutors with the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section reportedly are examining whether Gaetz took gifts, including travel and paid escorts, in exchange for political favors.
Gaetz denies any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crimes or presented with formal charges related to the widely-reported inquiry.