The Villages, FL

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz and Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene to Hold Rally in The Villages

Joe Duncan

Two Big-Named Congresspersons Will be in the Villages on Friday

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Gage Skidmore

It's been dubbed the America First Rally, as The Villages prepares to host two prominent and controversial figures of the Republican Party at the same time. Villagers, as the residents of The Villages are called, voted overwhelmingly in support of former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, making it one of the far right-wing of the Republican Party's strongholds in the state of Florida. The community is home to Florida's largest retirement community, with homes for residents to spend their golden years in, complete with live entertainment in several market squares, Paddock Square, Town Square, and Market Square. The community features an array of activities to pass the time, as residents often congregate and engage in games like tennis and other sports.

And one such event that will be going on, on May 7th, is the America First Rally.

The two figures, Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida's 1st District are both controversial in their own ways. The fact that they passed up the opportunity to call it The Florida First Rally (Matt Gaetz being the Representative of Florida's First district) can be chalked up to President Trump's America First brand, a brand and legacy the two congresspersons obviously intend to carry on.

The event will be held in the Silas/Mizell Ballroom at The Brownwood Hotel & Spa, Friday, May 7th, 2021, beginning at 6:30 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m..

But the event won't abode well with everyone in the community. It's been noted that Trump and those who carry on the Trump brand, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz, haven't been enjoying the popularity they once did, at least not over the past few months leading up to and in the wake of the election. Many 2016 Trump voters switched to Joe Biden for the 2020 election. One of the major reasons noted for this shift is what some voters perceive as Donald Trump dividing the country. Some even noted in the days leading up to the election that signs in support of Joe Biden were a warning sign of waning interest and diversification in the community.

Both Congresspersons have had embattled runs lately. With Gaetz under federal investigation, first and foremost, including the sex trafficking and money-for-sex exchanges in a supposed "sugar-baby" relationship with a teenage girl, many congressional Republicans have soured on Gaetz. But President Trump has come to his defense.

Marjorie Taylor Greene has been dubbed "The QAnon Congresswoman," for her stances sympathetic to internet movements that have been dubbed conspiracy theories. She claimed the Clintons murdered JFK Jr. when his plane crashed back in 1999, calling it, "Another one of them Clinton murders." This statement gave air to a long-standing (and unfounded) conspiracy that the Clintons have bands of assassins doing their dirty work for them. Her reputation precedes her, and she was an enigmatic and controversial figure long before she even took office, being elected in the past election in 2020.

Nonetheless, the community is an excellent place for an event like this. Even with the presumed 6% shift from Republicans to Democrats during the 2020 election, Republicans outnumbered Democrats in the community about two-to-one. In short, it's a Republican Stronghold.

America First dates all the way back to the days of the First World War, it stands for a stance of political isolationism. Woodrow Wilson coined the term as he took a stand against American entry into the First World War and it was used to form movements ever since. It's been since echoed in the campaigns of Pat Buchanan and Donald Trump, with his border wall, his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and Iranian nuclear deal, and other international programs America has long stood in favor of. Trump represents this same shift to isolationism as years prior.

What will happen to Mr. Gaetz is anyone's guess, as all allegations against him are just that, allegations, and he remains innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, just like every other American. But he has good reason to worry. And some Republicans think they have good reason to distance themselves from him considering that his former alleged partner, Joel Greenberg, the tax collector for Seminole County, Florida, has been brought up on 31 federal charges and is apparently cooperating with law enforcement to give them all of the facts. Whether charges will be brought against Gaetz remains to be unseen.

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