Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) — a self-proclaimed “Florida Man” and one of the most vocal supporters of former President Donald Trump and the America First doctrine — ripped the political and foreign policy establishment in a rousing speech Friday evening at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.
Gaetz denounced corporate “wokeism,” noting that he was the first Republican to swear off donations from federal lobbyists and political action committees last year.
“Turns out, I was ahead of the curve because the woke corporations turned around and canceled us. Many fortune 100 companies will not donate to pro-Trump Republicans. Some have even pulled their sponsorship of this conference. American business should be worried about business, not wokeism,” he said.
He mocked Hasbro’s fleeting decision to rename “Mr. Potato Head” to just “Potato Head.”
“I’m sorry, I think now he’s going by Mr. PotatoX,” he joked. “To me, the whole concept of the Mr. Potato Head was that you could move the parts around. I mean, Mr. Potato Head was America’s first transgender doll and even he got canceled.”
He called Big Business and Big Government the greatest threats to American liberty and described how the two meshed together with Big Tech.
“The flow of digital information impacts every aspect of our lives. If we win the debate but lose the internet, ours will be the last generation of American greatness,” he said. “They’ll open the borders, lockdown our businesses, and squelch even the faintest whispers of dissent.”
He said when Big Tech and Big Government team up, “American starts to look more like China.”
“And the Chi-Merica dream is shamefully a nightmare for our people,” he said. “All technology means is doing more with less. When Big Government fuses with Big Tech, government only becomes more efficient at acquiring and centralizing power. Tyranny with greater ease and lower cost,” he said.
Corrupt linkage between business and government that enriches the elite and reduces the rest of us to interchangeable parts — just producers and consumers, and we should never let the virtue of disagreement and debate go away for the ease of clicks and memes. We were promised that technology would democratize and disrupt but what happens when all of the technology companies ultimately get the power and the government all at once. There are no checks and balance when they can CTR-ALT-DELETE anyone for any reason.
Gaetz also slammed the foreign policy establishment for pouring billions of dollars and thousands of American troops into the Middle East while not focusing on problems at home.
“Leaders in both parties have no problem flooding the deserts of the Middle East with American cash and American blood over the mirages of democracies potentially emerging far far away. But they won’t lift a finger here in our country to do what is necessary to preserve our Republic and that is to ensure access to the digital world for everyone regardless of their politics,” he said.
Gaetz also took on Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), whom he has challenged publicly for her vote to impeach Trump.
“If Liz Cheney were on this stage, she’d get booed off of it,” he said. “What does that say? The leadership of our party is not found in Washington, DC. You are the energy; we are America,” he told the receptive audience.