Matt Gaetz is having a strange Friday. First, it was revealed that he voted with the Democrats to federally legalize marijuana, which is an unusual break from party lines for the Florida Congressman. But then he went right back to his usual ways when it was revealed that his campaign had donated money to a shell company set up by Donald Trump, Jr. Oh, and he’s also now banned from the state of New Jersey thanks to his attendance at a secret party set up by the Young Republicans club in Jersey City.
The venue where at least 150 people gathered Thursday night for the New York Young Republican Club’s 108th annual gala was shuttered on Friday amid public outcry and another coronavirus wave in the tri-state area. The gala—which was supposed to feature star speaker Sarah Palin before she backed out—was held at the Maritime Parc in Jersey City’s Liberty State Park Thursday night, after the group appeared to scrap plans to hold it across the river in New York. Videos and images posted on Twitter showed attendees gathered inside, flouting COVID-19 guidelines. Photos on social media show a tightly packed crowd — with no masks — surrounding Gaetz, who was invited by the 26-year-old president of the group, Gavin Wax.
Democratic New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy blasted the event and Gaetz during a press conference on Friday. The usually even-tempered Murphy angrily dubbed him “Matt Putz” for acting so irresponsibly as coronavirus cases continue to spike in every state.
Last night, the @NYYRC allegedly snuck into Jersey City to hold a “gala fundraiser” – ignoring our social distancing and mask rules.
It is beyond the pale that anyone would willingly endanger people in another state.
Jersey City law enforcement is investigating this matter. pic.twitter.com/OX2ug8S1e3
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) December 4, 2020
“That guy in the middle, the tall, handsome fella in the gray suit, that is Representative Matt Putz – oh sorry, Matt Gaetz, and based upon his past performances, it is obvious being a knucklehead is not beyond the pale for him,” Murphy told reporters. “He was actually Sarah Palin’s backup act for this event.”
According to Wax, the event had “about 150 people” show up to hear Gaetz, a staunch Trump loyalist who infamously wore a gas mask on the floor of Congress ahead of voting on COVID-19 relief legislation.
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop echoed Murphy’s sentiments in a statement, slamming the event as “an egregious violation” of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions. Fulop said the “establishment has been ordered closed” until it submits a written operational plan to the Health Department on how it’s complying with capacity mandates and mask-wearing.
One guest, Joel Fischer, posed for a selfie with the Florida lawmaker in front of tables of maskless guests. “Hey @NYGovCuomo. Come and get me,” Fischer wrote, taunting Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his state’s strict COVID-19 rules.
Another series of photos posted by Wax showed guests tightly huddled together smiling, without masks. “Eat shit Antifa. God bless America,” the 26-year-old wrote.
— Gavin Mario Wax 🇺🇸 (@GavinWax) December 4, 2020
We’ll see how Wax, Putz–that is, Gaetz–and the rest of their guests feel in a week to ten days.