Dalton is the county seat of Whitfield County, Georgia and, with a population of over 33,000, one of the only, along with Rome, cities in Marjorie Taylor Greene's backward rural district. It is also relatively diverse compared to her overwhelmingly white district. The center of a carpet industry, it was attracted a large hispanic population-- nearly a quarter of the residents, though not the voters. Whitfield County is a hotbed of QAnon extremism and Trump beat Biden there 69.8% to 29%, not as badly as the district as a whole-- 73% to 25%-- but pretty badly.
Last night Taylor Greene hosted an America First event in Dalton with her boyfriend Matt Gaetz, the Florida child predator who now claims he wants to run for president, although the likelihood is that he'll be spending many years in the Big House rather than the White House. The New York Post reported this morning that Gaetz told the audience that "We have a Second Amendment in this country, and I think we have an obligation to use it. The Second Amendment-- this is a little history lesson for all the fake news media. The Second Amendment is not about, it’s not about hunting, it’s not about recreation, it’s not about sports. The Second Amendment is about maintaining, within the citizenry, the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government if that becomes necessary. I hope it never does, but it sure is important to recognize the founding principles of this nation, and to make sure that they are fully understood."
Earlier in the rally, Gaetz railed against big tech companies, alleging that their censorship of conservative views on their platform.
“The internet’s hall monitors out in Silicon Valley, they think they can suppress us, discourage us-- maybe if you’re just a little less patriotic, maybe if you just conform to their way of thinking a little more, you’ll be allowed to participate in the digital world,” he said. “Well, you know what? Silicon Valley can’t cancel this movement or this rally or this congressman.”
A clip of those remarks, which also included Gaetz’s statement that “we have a Second Amendment in this country, and I think we have an obligation to use it,” drew a rebuke from Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who tweeted: “This is not speech protected by the first amendment. This is beyond yelling fire in a theater”-- an incorrect paraphrase of a now-overturned 1919 Supreme Court ruling that held opposing the military draft was not protected speech.
After his Second Amendment remarks, Gaetz joked, “That’ll be the part that gets me kicked off YouTube, talking about our rights and our freedoms.”
Business Insider viewed Gaetz's comments as a threat-- a threat of violence-- against Silicon Valley residents. Gaetz, wrote Tom Porter this morning, "escalated his rhetoric against Silicon Valley companies he argues are censoring conservatives, saying Americans have an 'obligation to use' their Second Amendment right to bear arms against them... The remarks have drawn condemnation from both Democrats and Republicans, who accused Gaetz of seeking to incite violence.
Many Republicans have geared up their attacks against Silicon Valley following the decision by Facebook and Twitter to bar Trump in the wake of the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. The companies said Trump used their platforms to incite the rioters.
Gaetz's remarks come with Senate Republicans largely expected to vote against a bill passed by the House for the formation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 attack.
Before the Dalton rally yesterday, Newsweek's James Walker noted that Taylor Greene helped keep Gaetz afloat when his sex scandal hit and now she's sinking too. And a new poll from YouGov for The Economist found that, although a third of registered voters have either never heard of Taylor Greene or haven't heard enough about her to have formed an opinion, she is underwater in terms of favorability-- 28% having a favorable opinion of her and 37% with an unfavorable opinion.
Yesterday, the Daily Mail grabbed a Taylor Greene tweet she tried deleting after posting it, thanking one of her fans for calling Kevin McCarthy a "moron" and a "feckless cunt" after he gave her a slap on the wrist for her latest anti-Semitic outburst.