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Matt Gaetz, Liberty for Trump
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) at a "Liberty for Trump" event in Tempe, AZ. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

When Republicans use this type of language, they know that they are speaking to a very receptive audience.

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fascist-FL) on Saturday became the latest prominent Republican to say the quiet part out loud and call for the use of political violence to achieve the GOP’s agenda.

Addressing a crowd at the Iowa State Fair, Gaetz suggested that “only through force do we make change in a corrupt town like Washington, DC.”

Fittingly, he stood next to former President Donald Trump, who is the undisputed champion of calling for violence… although he usually does it a lot more subtly than Gaetz.

Disturbingly, the Florida lawmaker is not an outlier. In fact, he wasn’t even the only Republican at the fair who used violent imagery.

Vivek Ramaswamy, who is currently running third in the race for the GOP nomination, tweeted that he distrusts government and is in favor of revolution.

When Republicans use this type of language, they know that they are speaking to a very receptive audience.

According to research published earlier this year, an estimated 12 million Americans believe that the use of violence would be justified to restore Trump to the White House.

Not long after Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, nearly 40 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement “if elected leaders will not protect America, the people must do it themselves, even if it requires violent actions.”

That figure is especially troubling once you take into account that nearly 70 percent of Trump voters do not believe that President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory was legitimate.

You’d think that GOP officials would be cognizant of these statistics and make sure to tamp down their violent rhetoric. Unfortunately, it is more often the opposite.

Take for example another prominent Republican, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who refers to some of the individuals held for attacking Congress as“political prisoners.”

In the past, the lawmaker suggested that the attack would have been successful if she had been in charge.

And if that’s not enough, check out an image she used to promote a recent podcast.

And who could forget GOP lawmakers like Reps. Lauren Boebert (CO) and Thomas Massie (KY) sending out Christmas cards showing their families heavily armed?

As these examples show, it is not just rank-and-file Republicans using violent rhetoric and imagery but some of the party’s most prominent figures.

And that is perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this. It would be one thing if it were just fringe politicians trying to make a name for themselves.

Like Darren Bailey, a former GOP candidate for governor in Illinois, who commented on the news that the state Supreme Court had upheld an assault rifle ban by saying that he would “die on this front porch before I give up any of my Second Amendment freedoms.”

Instead, the Republicans promoting violence occupy or seek powerful positions, like Trump or Gaetz, who also suggested this week that he would make a fine attorney general… because nothing says “chief law enforcement official of the federal government” like “only through force do we make change in a corrupt town like Washington, DC.”

Author

  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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