Rep. Matt Gaetz said when Republicans take control of the House, they should not disband the Jan. 6 committee. Instead, they should put controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in charge and turn the sights on blaming Democrats and the FBI.
The Panhandle Republican, who on Jan. 6 infamously blamed the Capitol riot on antifa protesters, now wants Congress to investigate whether FBI informants stoked violence that disrupted the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory over Donald Trump. He appeared with Greene on Steve Bannon’s podcast to discuss Jan. 6.
The most consequential moment may have come when he asserted Greene should chair the Jan. 6 Committee next year.
“I wouldn’t disband it. I would take it over,” Gaetz said. “I would throw off the tyrants that are on that committee now. I would make Marjorie Taylor Greene the Chair. I would make Darren Beattie the staff director, and then we would get the truth in front of the American people.”
Beattie, a former Trump speechwriter, has leveled accusations that FBI informants were at the Jan. 6 protest instigating members of extremist groups.
Greene also appeared on an episode of Gaetz’s podcast Firebrand and endorsed using the committee to turn the investigation away from Trump and toward law enforcement and Democrats.
“I’m ready to rip the whole thing wide open and expose everything,” Greene said.
Gaetz has fed the theory the FBI played a role in pro-Trump demonstrators breaching the Capitol. He said on his own podcast he wants to subpoena an individual named Ray Epps, accused of being an FBI informant in the crowd, and pursue other theories making their way around the far right.
“Why is there no accountability for the very people who are on video dispassionately and professionally setting up a booby trap for people, a lot of whom didn’t even know they were breaking the law because barriers had been removed,” Gaetz said on Bannon’s podcast.
At one point, he employed the term blood libel, a longtime antisemitic attack accusing Jews of using the blood of non-Jewish children for rituals.
“The people all in this country know what is driving this, and that is the folks inside the beltway of Washington, D.C. — severely impacted with the pandemic of Potomac fever — believe that the way that American democracy ought to work is that they ought to get to make all the decisions,” Gaetz said.
“And instead of the voters picking the leaders, that the leaders and the elites and the bureaucratic class ought to be able to dictate the outcomes of elections. We don’t believe that, and we’re not going to allow them to lie about us, and we’re not going to allow this blood libel to exist as a consequence of the Jan. 6 narrative that they are putting forward.”
Of note, Gaetz was among those House members, including 12 Florida U.S. Representatives, who objected to certifying the votes in several states Biden won.
But Gaetz and Greene both stood by that on the podcast.
“We’re ashamed of nothing,” Gaetz said. “We are proud of the work we did on Jan. 6 to make legitimate arguments about election integrity.”
He said a press conference will be held Thursday, the one-year anniversary of the Capitol riot, to discuss the “truth” of what happened that day.