After three California venues refused to host Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ‘America First’ event, the duo held a ‘protest’ instead

Marjorie Taylor Greene Matt Gaetz
  • Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz are in California for their “America First” tour stop.
  • Three event venues in Southern California canceled hosting the event.
  • Greene and Gaetz had a “Freedom of Speech Peaceful Protest” at Riverside City Hall instead.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz held a “Freedom of Speech Peaceful Protest” in Riverside, California on Saturday evening after three event venues refused to host them.

The Republican lawmakers were in Southern California for their “America First” tour stop. The Pacific Hills Banquet & Event Center, a hotel in Laguna Hills, California, was initially slated to host the event, but canceled a week before when they realized who the speakers were, saying they “just want to stay clear of that.”

The Riverside Convention Center was then tapped to host but canceled 24 hours before the event after receiving backlash from the community.

Finally, the Anaheim Event Center in Orange County canceled its last-minute plan to host the tour stop over general security concerns, city spokesperson Mike Lyster told Insider on Saturday.

Read more: A key fundraising group for Republican women is shunning Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, calling them ‘carnival barkers’

Lyster said the city had several other events already going on. “Those require public safety attention and resources,” he said. “This event layered on top of that would have strained resources.”

In a statement provided to Insider, Greene’s office said Greene and Gaetz would be hosting a protest at the Riverside City Hall at 5 p.m. instead of the planned event at a venue.

“Over the past week, I’ve seen the Communist left in California use threats of violence, intimidation, and harassment to bully business owners into submission, forcing them to cancel peaceful gatherings of Americans,” Greene said.

She then blasted cancel culture, saying that she has experienced it firsthand in Congress and in California, “where the left uses tactics similar to those employed by tyrannical governments throughout history who want to totally silence their political opponents.”

Greene has been a controversial figure since joining Congress in January. She was stripped of her House committee assignments in February over posts she made online promoting conspiracy theories and endorsing political violence.

Gaetz also spoke out against the events being canceled, tweeting, “The Woketopians are this scared of a dose of #AmericaFirst in California.”

A spokesperson for Gaetz did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

The protest was streamed live by the right-wing outlet RSBN. Greene and Gaetz arrived shortly after the event began and led the crowd in a “USA” chant.

They each spoke for about five minutes. Greene told the crowd the “radical left wants to cancel you” but that she and Gaetz “refuse to be canceled because we won’t let you be canceled.”

She also praised former President Donald Trump’s “America First policies.”

Both lawmakers spoke out against their venue event being canceled, with Gaetz saying “we will not be silenced and we will not be shutdown.”

“You’ve proven they can’t cancel these Congress members and they can’t cancel this rally and they can never cancel the America First political movement,” he said.

Greene and Gaetz left less than 15 minutes after they arrived.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A third California venue has nixed Matt Gaetz’ and Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ‘America First’ tour stop

mtg vaccine holocaust comparison
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.

  • A third venue has canceled Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene’s “America First” event in California.
  • A spokesperson for the city of Anaheim said the event venue decided to scrub the event over safety concerns.
  • Last week a hotel declined to host the event and a convention center in Riverside canceled the event on Friday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A third event venue has canceled GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz’s “America First” tour stop in Southern California.

The Anaheim Event Center in Orange County on Saturday canceled its last-minute plan to host the Southern California tour stop, citing general security concerns, according to city spokesperson Mike Lyster.

While the venue is privately owned, Lyster said the decision with the venue’s owner was reached after the city expressed concerns over general public safety.

“We are a city that is known for hosting events, but our challenge is that today with our economy back open, we actually have several events throughout the city,” Lyster told Insider on Saturday. “Those require public safety attention and resources.

“This event layered on top of that would have strained resources,” he added. Now, of course, we would’ve handled that, but it would’ve come at a very significant expense to our city.”

The tour by two of the most polarizing members of Congress aims to attack Democrats and also Republicans who they believe aren’t loyal to former President Donald Trump. Gaetz has also been embroiled in controversy after reports surfaced in late March that the third-term congressman was under investigation for sex trafficking. Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing.

Lyster said the city learned of the plan to hold the “American First” event in Anaheim late Friday.

Lyster said the event would’ve required the city to work with the county sheriff’s office and with the neighboring police agencies to provide the needed security.

“All of that comes at a significant cost given all the other events we have going on in our city,” he said.

The tour stop had originally been planned for a hotel in Laguna Hills, but that hotel last week canceled the event when its management learned that the controversial Republican lawmakers were the featured speakers. The Riverside Convention Center in Riverside was selected as the new location for the event, but it on Friday backed out of the event following community backlash.

Representatives for the Anaheim Event Center, Gaetz, and Greene did not return Insider’s request for comment Saturday. It’s not clear whether the event will continue at another venue.

“Democrats are the party of hate,” Greene tweeted Saturday before the third venue canceled the event. “They organized to attack, threaten, & harass every venue we booked in CA to hold an America First rally, which celebrates our great country & freedoms. They think their vicious hate will stop me, but I never give up. See you at the rally tonight!

Read the original article on Business Insider

Biden is on the verge of making the same dangerous mistakes as the presidents before him

Biden speech
President Joe Biden during his inauguration at the US Capitol, January 20, 2021.

  • President Joe Biden enters office amid simmering tensions with US foes all over the world.
  • The costs of pursuing US global preeminence have been made clear, and it’s time for US leaders to take a different path.
  • Frank Giustra is co-chair of the International Crisis Group. Andrew Bacevich is president and cofounder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

If the escalating tensions between the United States and China aren’t causing you concern yet, you’ve not been paying attention.

Any conflict between the two superpowers would result in unimaginable devastation – if not physical, at least economic. And don’t forget: both China and the United States possess nuclear arsenals.

There’s a lot going on right now in our Covid-besieged world. But war remains an omnipresent danger. Antagonism between the United States and China is only one source of concern. The broken relationship between the US and Iran is another.

A year ago our two countries came dangerously close to full-scale war. After Tehran-backed forces launched several missiles at a military base in Iraq housing US troops, Washington retaliated by assassinating Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani near the Baghdad airport.

Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed, and both sides walked back from the brink. But tensions between the US and Iran remain high. Next time, we might not be so lucky.

Joe Biden Iraq
Biden, then Vice President, talks to soldiers at Camp Victory, on the outskirts of Baghdad, July 4, 2009.

The bad blood between Tehran and Washington derives from many sources. Yet one proximate cause stems from the Trump administration’s unilateral decision to exit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the so-called Iran nuclear deal, as a part of a crude “maximum pressure” campaign.

That campaign failed abysmally, and in a hopeful sign, the Biden administration has now signalled its interest in rejoining the JCPOA. The journey from aspiration to achievement is likely to be arduous. But the effort is a necessary one.

Sadly, the Trump administration’s reliance on coercion in dealing with Tehran falls within a tradition of American statecraft which long predates Trump himself. Since World War II and especially since the end of the Cold War, a succession of administrations, Democratic and Republican alike, have opted for force, overt and covert, direct or through proxies, to shore up US global preeminence.

Trump revived the incendiary slogan “America First.” But keeping American first, by whatever means necessary, defines the through line of US policy going back several decades. Taking stock of that approach and measuring its costs have become an urgent priority.

In a famous speech, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, son of a president and destined himself to occupy the White House, warned Americans against the temptation to go “abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”

To indulge in this temptation, Adams believed, was to risk involving the United States “beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.”

aircraft carrier
Sailors watch the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis sail alongside the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the Pacific Ocean, May 5, 2015.

This aptly describes the situation in which the United States finds itself today, mired in senseless “forever wars,” maintaining over 800 foreign bases, seeking to contain the rise of China by military intimidation, and expending roughly a trillion dollars a year for what is loosely termed national security, even as hundreds of thousands of Americans are felled by disease. There is something radically amiss with the reigning ideas of security.

It is time for a change. America needs policies that emphasize diplomacy, promote peaceful coexistence, and regard military intervention as truly the option of last resort. Interestingly, American public opinion has been moving in the direction of non-intervention. Which raises the question, why haven’t we seen the public’s will make its way to the decision makers in Washington?

President Dwight Eisenhower once warned against the dangers of the “Military Industrial Complex.” Simply put, the defense industry is big business. It makes a lot of money and creates some jobs, which, in turn, buys lobbying power.

The defense industry is not the only one exerting influence on Washington. There are also many foreign powers that support the status quo because it benefits their own political interests in their respective regions. Both groups have vast resources to spread around and gain influence. Too often, the results are unnecessary conflicts or tensions with countries – from Cuba to Libya to Iraq to Iran – that don’t pose a significant threat to the American people.

Institutions such as the two that we are privileged to lead offer an alternative conception of America’s role in the world, emphasizing military restraint and diplomatic engagement. Might the moment to try such an approach now be at hand?

Frank Giustra is co-chair of the International Crisis Group. Andrew Bacevich is president and cofounder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.

Read the original article on Business Insider