In a post-riot debate in which most Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives dialed back rhetoric regarding the challenge to Joe Biden‘s election, Republican Matt Gaetz went another way.
In a late-night, fiery defense of President Donald Trump and condemnation of the 2020 presidential election, the Fort Walton Beach congressman blamed Democrats’ rhetoric and antifa for the attack on the U.S. Capitol. And he denounced the presidential election as rife with systematic fraud.
Gaetz, long one of Trump’s most ardent defenders, was one of the few Republicans who explicitly defended him Wednesday night. After the riots had changed how most were feeling, most other Republicans who spoke in the evening debate, even those objecting to Biden’s victory, took measured approaches, calling for unity and understanding of one another’s positions.
Gaetz came sounding angry at Democrats, not rioters.
He even disavowed Trump of any blame for the storming of the Capitol, which almost everyone else attributed to people who supported Trump and were angry because they believed his claims that the election was stolen. They had headed to the Capitol after hearing Trump rail against the election and Democrats and after he told them to go there, during a