- Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz are in California for their “America First” tour stop.
- Three event venues in Southern California canceled hosting the event.
- Greene and Gaetz had a “Freedom of Speech Peaceful Protest” at Riverside City Hall instead.
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Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz held a “Freedom of Speech Peaceful Protest” in Riverside, California on Saturday evening after three event venues refused to host them.
The Republican lawmakers were in Southern California for their “America First” tour stop. The Pacific Hills Banquet & Event Center, a hotel in Laguna Hills, California, was initially slated to host the event, but canceled a week before when they realized who the speakers were, saying they “just want to stay clear of that.”
The Riverside Convention Center was then tapped to host but canceled 24 hours before the event after receiving backlash from the community.
Finally, the Anaheim Event Center in Orange County canceled its last-minute plan to host the tour stop over general security concerns, city spokesperson Mike Lyster told Insider on Saturday.
Lyster said the city had several other events already going on. “Those require public safety attention and resources,” he said. “This event layered on top of that would have strained resources.”
In a statement provided to Insider, Greene’s office said Greene and Gaetz would be hosting a protest at the Riverside City Hall at 5 p.m. instead of the planned event at a venue.
“Over the past week, I’ve seen the Communist left in California use threats of violence, intimidation, and harassment to bully business owners into submission, forcing them to cancel peaceful gatherings of Americans,” Greene said.
She then blasted cancel culture, saying that she has experienced it firsthand in Congress and in California, “where the left uses tactics similar to those employed by tyrannical governments throughout history who want to totally silence their political opponents.”
Greene has been a controversial figure since joining Congress in January. She was stripped of her House committee assignments in February over posts she made online promoting conspiracy theories and endorsing political violence.
Gaetz also spoke out against the events being canceled, tweeting, “The Woketopians are this scared of a dose of #AmericaFirst in California.”
A spokesperson for Gaetz did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The protest was streamed live by the right-wing outlet RSBN. Greene and Gaetz arrived shortly after the event began and led the crowd in a “USA” chant.
—Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) July 18, 2021
They each spoke for about five minutes. Greene told the crowd the “radical left wants to cancel you” but that she and Gaetz “refuse to be canceled because we won’t let you be canceled.”
She also praised former President Donald Trump’s “America First policies.”
Both lawmakers spoke out against their venue event being canceled, with Gaetz saying “we will not be silenced and we will not be shutdown.”
“You’ve proven they can’t cancel these Congress members and they can’t cancel this rally and they can never cancel the America First political movement,” he said.
Greene and Gaetz left less than 15 minutes after they arrived.