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Twitter Blocks Rep. Gaetz Post Calling To 'Hunt Down' Protesters


Twitter has restricted access to a tweet posted Monday by Rep. Matt Gaetz, in which the Florida Republican called for what commenters described as extrajudicial killings of protesters.

"Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?" Gaetz tweeted, joining Donald Trump and other Republicans in blaming anti-fascists for the violence across the country at protests over the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes, even as Floyd said he could not breathe. Autopsies have found that Floyd died of asphyxia.While Gaetz's tweet is still up, users have to click on it to see its contents. It's covered by a box that reads, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

Democratic lawmakers called out Gaetz in response to the tweet and urged Twitter to remove it from the social media platform.

"Take the Gaetz tweet down right now @twitter. RIGHT NOW," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted Monday night. "The survivors of mass shootings are lighting up my phone. They are scared to death this will inspire someone to start shooting into a crowd tonight. They are right."

After Twitter took action against his tweet, Gaetz said, "Their warning is my badge of honor."

"Antifa is a terrorist organization, encouraging riots that hurt Americans. Our government should hunt them down. Twitter should stop enabling them. I'll keep saying it," Gaetz said in a tweet that he pinned to the top of his profile page.

Donald Trump has demanded that the antifa movement be labeled a domestic terrorist organization.

However, as factcheck.org noted, "There is no such official federal designation for domestic terrorism organizations." Even if such a designation existed, the site said, it would be "difficult or questionable" to categorize antifa in that manner because it is not an organized group with a hierarchy and leadership.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

GOP Investigation Of Florida ‘Voter Fraud’ Finds Nothing

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

As Florida began the process of recounting votes for the 2018 election cycle, Trump and his Republican cronies like Sen. Rick Scott pushed the unfounded theory that Democratic voter fraud was afoot. Scott worked vigilantly to stop the recount, even attempting to have voting machines and ballots impounded. It was a bogus claim, but recounting continued anyway. On Friday, Politico reported that Florida's law enforcement agency, tasked with investigating this supposed fraud, found ZERO cases of voter fraud.

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Watchdogs Seek Probe Of Rep. Gaetz Over Dubious Lease Deal

A government watchdog group on Wednesday announced it had filed multiple complaints against Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, demanding an investigation into a lease agreement for congressional office space.

Politico reported last Friday that Gaetz rented office space in Florida for below market value from Collier Merrill — a Florida-based developer who Politico reported is a longtime friend and donor to Gaetz's campaign.

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GOP Reps Self-Quarantined After CPAC Coronavirus Scare

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Two Republican congressmen who recently interacted with President Donald Trump are placing themselves in self-quarantine because of potential exposure to the coronavirus.

Reps. Doug Collins of Georgia and Matt Gaetz of Florida have said publicly that they came into contact with a person at the conservative conference CPAC who has since tested positive for the virus.

“This afternoon, I was notified by CPAC that they discovered a photo of myself and the patient who has tested positive for coronavirus,” said Collins in a statement. “While I feel completely healthy and I am not experiencing any symptoms, I have decided to self-quarantine at my home for the remainder of the 14-day period out of an abundance of caution. I will follow the recommendations of the House Physician and my office will provide updates as appropriate.”

The Florida congressman made a similar announcement on Twitter:

Reporters quickly pointed out that the president has recently come into contact with both Collins and Gaetz.

The Daily Beast’s Sam Stein noted:

Gaetz, meanwhile, was seen by the White House press pool boarding Air Force One to travel with the president on Monday.

Bloomberg’s Justin Sink also reported that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who placed himself under quarantine on Sunday night for the same reason, also met at the White House on Thursday. He said that White House “officials have stressed that Trump has been religious about hand washing and other precautions.”

There’s no reason to believe that Gaetz, Cruz, or Collins passed the virus to Trump, since it has not been confirmed that any of them contracted it in the first place. But the totality of the contacts shows how easily such an outbreak could spread and can even impact top officials in the federal government. In Iran, where the outbreak has spiraled out of control, two officials have already died from the infection.

Trump, too, attended CPAC, though it has not been reported that he interacted with the person since diagnosed with the virus. But the Washington Post reported:

Trump was photographed shaking hands with Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, who confirmed that he had been in direct contact with the infected man during the Conservative Political Action Conference last month.

Gaetz was the subject of criticism after he wore a gas mask to congressional proceedings last week as lawmakers passed funding to fight the outbreak. Gaetz voted to approve the measure, even while voicing ridiculous concerns about paying for the funds:

Now his office is trying to say that he wore the mask not to mock the seriousness of the disease but to demonstrate “his concern … on the House Floor.”

However, there was no sign at the time that he was taking the issue seriously. And if he was, wearing a gas mask is the last thing he should have done. Officials have urged the public not to wear face masks unless they are themselves infected, and Gaetz’s actions could have muddled the message. And when he spoke to TMZ about the matter, he was clearly in a jocular mood:

When asked by TMZ where he got the gas mask from, Gaetz remained coy.

“I gotta keep that confidential…Top secret. You don’t wanna know what underground lair I pulled this from. It’s not made in China though,” he said.

The congressman said he doesn’t expect President Trump to follow his lead and get himself a matching gas mask, mostly “based on what it does to the hair.”

Just before entering the office building and finishing the impromptu interview, Gaetz decided against advising spring break travelers to cancel their planned trips to Florida.

“In my experience, the things that you consume on spring break will typically kill the coronavirus.”