U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Thursday stood up for the Family Research Council, a hate group that has spent nearly 40 years spreading dangerous lies about LGBTQ people under the cloak of "religious freedom." He also attacked the Southern Poverty Law Center, a decades-old institution that tracks and reports on the more than 800 current hate groups of all kinds across the U.S.
It did not turn out well for the Florida Congressman, as some rushed to remind Gaetz, a top Trump MAGA sympathizer, of his own associations with the far right.
Gaetz tweeted out an article from the conspiracy theory website Gateway Pundit, whose owner was regularly labeled the stupidest man on the Internet. The article, by Cassandra Fairbanks, paints Gaetz in a very favorable light to his far right supporters. Fairbanks previously worked for Sputnik, the Russian government state media site.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a hate group.
The @splcenter's designation of @FRCdc as a "hate group" caused a deranged leftist to try and shoot up the Family Research Council's headquarters. (via @CassandraRules)https://t.co/2051QjDXnd — Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) March 25, 2021
The SPLC is not a hate group.
Fairbanks, according to domestic extremism expert Jared Holt, is a "self-professed fascist sympathizer."
Sharing articles from a self-professed fascist sympathizer to own the SPLC https://t.co/a3kXCUcQ9o pic.twitter.com/gIpDZWqBHo
— Jared Holt (@jaredlholt) March 25, 2021
Journalist Christopher Mathias offered up a similar characterization:
Hardly a week goes by without a GOP congressman promoting/citing the propaganda of fascists.
This time, it's Gaetz promoting Cassandra Fairbanks, a far-right white nationalist/groyper sympathizer. https://t.co/JGnS1wGLZ5 pic.twitter.com/K8X6FVf4Li — Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) March 25, 2021
Gaetz also suggested MAGA is not a dangerous extremist group:
How long until MAGA hats are considered an "extremist symbol?" How long until Christian or pro-life groups are "too extreme" for the ruling woketopians? Dems love using the term "extremism" to describe Republicans, conservatives, and the group they hate most...Trump supporters.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) March 25, 2021
Here's how some are responding to Congressman Gaetz's attack.
Journalist Daniel Moritz-Rabson posted a graphic of Fairbanks appearing on VDARE with its founder. VDARE is a white nationalist hate group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
— Daniel Moritz-Rabson (@DMoritzRabson) March 25, 2021
Journalist Sam Youngman notes Rep. Gaetz took Holocaust denier Chuck/Charles Johnson to the State of the Union Address and appears to continue to support Trump's attempt to overturn the election:
This person took a Holocaust denier to the State of the Union and voted against honoring the police who fought off the Jan. 6 terrorists. https://t.co/tlr3duMUBE
— Sam Youngman (@samyoungman) March 25, 2021
This Twitter user offered up the details:
This you?https://t.co/CxFWz3WEpU https://t.co/6MI2azkYDl pic.twitter.com/HhpGwF0YPr
— Bizarrobrain (@bizarrobrain) March 25, 2021
White supremacist tracker:
A guy targeted the FRC because they're bigots. https://t.co/kB85u6wrfP
— Eyes on the Right (@EyesOnTheRight) March 25, 2021
Family Research Council:
-"homosexual conduct is objectively harmful" -"people can stop being LGBTQ through conversion therapy" (Illegal in Nevada) -Gay marriage is "counterfeit" marriage. That's what the FRC believes. SPLC simply quotes them. Because FRC is a hate group. https://t.co/BFzrht4Uiz — jonhumbert (@jonhumbert) March 25, 2021
Bullshit, Matt. There is an active on-going racist insurrection underway and you are part of it. It's un-American as hell. https://t.co/uE1VA0aOgn
— Curley (@CurveyArt) March 25, 2021
This is the classic Goebbels technique of accusing your enemies of what you, in fact, are guilty of. https://t.co/SPiJhsPdTO
— Matthew Spira (@MatthewSpira) March 25, 2021