With the January 6th Committee still working through the evidence and witnesses from last year, it doesn’t seem like the wisest time for a member of Congress to be joking about carrying out a bloody coup. Still, Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) isn’t exactly known for his discretion and appropriate behavior.
It’s no surprise, then, that his latest tweet has a lot of people asking if House leadership should be taking this as a threat of violence. The story itself is innocuous enough — a nature story about competition between individuals in a cheetah pack vying for leadership. However, the title describes members of the pack as “kill[ing] leader in [a] bloody coup” — and Gaetz shared it with a comparison to House leadership races.
“This is a fascinating story about cheetahs and House Leadership races…”
Of course, there are several people in House leadership right now who Gaetz and his faction have problems with, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Republican Conference chairman Liz Cheney, and perhaps most relevantly, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy.
In fact, just a few months ago Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) were on his podcast discussing removing McCarthy from leadership. Then, too, the party has just censured Cheney over her work on the January 6th Committee, and the hate for Pelosi has been on full display for as long as she’s been in leadership.
Still, a “bloody coup” and a reference to not just removing a leader but killing? That’s more than a bit extreme, and Twitter users were quick to call Gaetz out on it, asking if he was threatening McCarthy.
Instead of denying that the tweet was threat, Gaetz just popped back in to say that it wasn’t about any one specific person — just about the nature of politics. Still, he didn’t try to claim that ‘killing’ was a metaphor here — instead, he described again “find[ing] and kill[ing]” the unspecified “alpha cheetah.”
So he partners with a younger cheetah male – takes him under his wing.
And the 4 bros he organized and led for years…find him and kill him.
This is the cruel nature of the animal kingdom.See Also
It is the nature of some elements of politics, bigger than any party or moment in time
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) February 10, 2022
Gaetz loves to be the center of controversy — and he’s getting that already, with multiple of his associates pleading guilty to crimes and promising to cooperate with law enforcement, while he’s under the microscope for alleged child sex trafficking — but did this particular apparent threat go too far?
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com