Protestors Quickly Shut Down Press Conference Held by Controversial Republicans Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene

Shortly after saying she and the other lawmakers would "not back down," Greene and Gaetz left the scene as heckles from protestors grew louder

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images (2)

Attempts by controversial Republican lawmakers to deflect attention from a hearing into the Jan. 6 Capitol riots went awry on Tuesday, as protestors quickly drowned out remarks by Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene during a press conference the two tried to hold on a sidewalk outside the Department of Justice building.

While four Capitol police officers gave testimonies on their experiences from the deadly events of Jan. 6, controversial GOP members Gaetz, 39, and Greene, 47, were joined by three other Republican congressmen — Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert and Virginia Rep. Bob Good — to question why a hearing was being held to investigate the riots.

Gaetz — a Florida representative who is currently under investigation for the possible sex tracking of a teenaged girl — attempted to compare those who breached the Capitol because Trump lost the election to those who protested the killing of unarmed Black people last year.

"We're wondering why questions that have been asked by colleagues for months have gone unanswered," Gaetz said during the press conference, per video obtained by The Columbia Bugle. "Antifa and BLM set fires to this country for months and we did not see an interest from federal law enforcement on those claims."

Despite Gaetz's remarks, data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) found that "nearly 95%" of the Black Lives Matter protests that occurred in 2020 "involved peaceful protestors." None led to the attempted overthrow of the U.S government.

In her own brief remarks, Greene said that she and the other lawmakers wanted to know how the detained rioters "are being treated inside the jail. We would like to know many other things," according to Business Insider.

From the beginning of the attempted press conference, protesters blew whistles and shouted at the GOP lawmakers in attempts to drown them out. Some also held up signs singling the lawmakers out as "traitors" and "rapists," Forbes reported. The latter is a clear reference to Gaetz and the allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old, claims of which he has denied.

One protestor also carried a "large, inflatable" of former President Donald Trump, according to Rolling Stone, that held a sign which read "Pedophiles for Trump." Another held up a sign that read "Traitors + Rapists Sit Down," the outlet reported.

All of the lawmakers who appeared at the event are ardent supporters of Trump, and Gaetz and Greene, in particular, have reputations for igniting controversy with what critics say are little more than political stunts.

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When met with the sounds of protestors using whistles to drown out her proclamations, Greene — who recently said she is suing Nancy Pelosi over a fine she received in regards to not wearing a mask on the House floor — told the crowd, per Business Insider, "We are not deterred."

"For anyone that's here being an activist and yelling today, here's a statement that I need everyone to understand — we will not back down, we will not stop asking questions, we are looking for the truth," she added.

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Shortly after saying she and the other lawmakers would "not back down," though, Greene and the others left the scene as the heckles from the protestors grew louder.

According to Forbes, an aide interrupted Greene's speech, reportedly telling her, "We've got to go" and "The left is interrupting the press conference, we need to end it." She and her fellow Republican colleagues then left the podium and returned to the Capitol.

After returning to the Washington D.C. locale, Good, 55, told the outlet, "The right does not do that, conservatives do not do that, try to shout people down."

The attempted press conference coincided with day one of a House committee hearing on the Jan. 6 riot, which occurred after thousands of Trump supporters broke into the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn his 2020 loss to President Joe Biden.

During the hearing, Capitol Police sergeant Aquilino Gonell recounted his experience being assaulted by the angry mob and castigated the lawmakers whose lives he protected that day. "It's confounding that some people who have sworn an oath, elected officials, are fighting against me," he said.

Gonell continued: "Even though we are testifying about the trauma and the agony and everything that happened to us. It's pathetic. And they shouldn't be elected officials anymore."

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