Last night, Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida joined the 121 House Republicans who voted to decertify the Electoral College votes in Arizona, where President-Elect Joe Biden beat President Donald Trump by a margin of about 10,500 votes.
That wasn't particularly surprising. Since Trump lost the November election, Gaetz has been among the president's staunchest backers as Trump has falsely declared that the election was stolen from him.
But last night, even as a number of his fellow Republicans folded and finally broke with Trump, Gaetz doubled down and continued to spread the lie that Biden's victory is a result of voter fraud.
"They fraudulently laundered ballots, votes, voter-registration forms, and then they limited review," he said of the Democrats. He concluded his speech saying "we should reject these electors." (Gaetz didn't confine his baseless bile to allegations about the November election; he also used the bully pulpit to broadcast the absurd claim that "some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters. They were masquerading as Trump supporters and in fact, were members of the violent terrorist group antifa.")
So today might be more than a little awkward if Gaetz plans on catching up with his family after the vote. Yesterday, as MAGA rioters raided the Capitol, the Congressman's sister Erin Gaetz said in multiple tweets that she disagrees with him about Trump's false claims of fraud and that she believes Biden won the election fair and square.
"A lot of Republicans — and a lot of Trump supporters, specifically — don't support this garbage. Moreover, they live in reality and know Trump lost," she wrote. "If you are one of those people, now is the time to speak up. Denounce this in the strongest, most unequivocal terms. Don't wait."
And she acknowledged, after getting many replies, that her brother is not among those Republicans.
"I wholly disagree with him on that issue. I've made that incredibly clear. But I can only speak for myself," she responded in one thread.
A lot of Republicans — and a lot of Trump supporters, specifically — don’t support this garbage. Moreover, they live in reality and know Trump lost.— Erin Gaetz (@ErinGaetz) January 6, 2021
If you are one of those people, now is the time to speak up. Denounce this in the strongest, most unequivocal terms. Don’t wait.
Trump has spent two months telling his supporters the election was stolen from him and that he was still going to president for another term.— Erin Gaetz (@ErinGaetz) January 6, 2021
What did you *think* was going to happen when that fantasy came tumbling down?
You know what comes next? Counter protesters. And escalating violence. People are going to get hurt. Someone might get killed.— Erin Gaetz (@ErinGaetz) January 6, 2021
It is totally meaningless that Trump told people to remain peaceful now. A completely empty gesture.
You can’t unring the bell.
He didn’t win, and what’s happening now is shameful. This is literally what despotic banana republics do.— Erin Gaetz (@ErinGaetz) January 6, 2021
Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay's digital editor, Colin Wolf, was among those who asked if Erin Gaetz had spoken with her brother about his continued support for the president's false claims.
"I wonder if she's said any of this to her brother Matt Gaetz," Wolf wrote.
Erin Gaetz responded: "Respecfully, I don't believe in airing family conversations on Twitter. I hope you can understand that."
Although Matt Gaetz said yesterday on the House floor that political violence has no place in America, he did not expressly denounce the pro-Trump rioters who raided the Capitol. Gaetz himself breached the Capitol back in October 2019 when he and two dozen fellow Republicans broke into a secure hearing for members of the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight committees, who were conducting an inquiry into the accusations that Trump had enlisted Ukraine to investigate Biden.
Erin Gaetz wasn't the only one to publicly break with a Trump-supporting family member after the D.C. riots. Supermodel Karlie Kloss, who recently bought a $23 million mansion in Miami Beach with her husband Joshua Kushner, tweeted a statement condemning those who continue to support the election fraud conspiracies.
"Accepting the results of a legitimate democratic election is patriotic. Refusing to do so and inciting violence is anti-American," Kloss wrote yesterday.
When one Twitter user responded, "Tell your sister in law and brother [in] law" — referring to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner — Kloss replied, "I've tried."
Stars — they're just like us! Trying to get their MAGA relatives to accept reality with absolutely no success.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.