Greene and Gaetz forced to flee pro-Jan. 6 event, chased off by noisy protesters

One GOP staffer at far-right presser was triggered by protester with "auditory weapon," also known as a whistle

By Zachary Petrizzo
Published July 28, 2021 6:00AM (EDT)
Protestors hold an effigy of former President Donald Trump as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks during a news conference outside the U.S. Department of Justice on July 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. The group of far-right conservatives held a news conference to demand answers from Attorney General Merrick Garland on the status of January 6 prisoners. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Protestors hold an effigy of former President Donald Trump as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks during a news conference outside the U.S. Department of Justice on July 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. The group of far-right conservatives held a news conference to demand answers from Attorney General Merrick Garland on the status of January 6 prisoners. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — An impromptu press conference featuring an assemblage of far-right members of Congress, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert and Paul Gosar, held in front of the Department of Justice on Tuesday afternoon went sideways after a group of protesters invaded the event and drowned out the legislators.

The event was intended to draw attention away from the Jan. 6 select committee hearing simultaneously underway inside the Capitol building, and to air Republican grievances regarding individuals arrested for their alleged actions on that day, who are now being depicted as "political prisoners" by the right. 

The distinguished members gathered just before 1 p.m. Tuesday, but could barely be heard, thanks to a protester — a literal whistleblower — who effectively drowned out the Republican lawmakers' remarks. Eventually a congressional aide approached the whistler and begged him to leave before asking, "Are you trying to assault people with auditory weapons?"

Although the whistleblower was clearly working the nerves of many people in attendance, including some representatives of right-wing media, Greene declared from the podium that she wasn't fazed. "To the guy that's blowing the whistle: we are not deterred," said the congresswoman previously associated with QAnon conspiracy theories, threats against members of Congress and the quest for Jewish space lasers.


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"And so for anyone that's here, being an activist and yelling today, here's the statement that I need everyone to understand," Greene continued. "We will not back down, we will not stop asking questions, we are looking for the truth. And we believe the truth can be found by reaching out and answering and asking the right questions to the right people."

As the event continued, numerous pro-Trump attendees attempted to get D.C. police involved to remove the lone whistleblower. 

Around 10 minutes after the event got underway, things went from bad to worse for the distinguished members. Additional protesters arrived, many bearing signs reading, "Traitors + Rapists: Sit Down," "Pedophiles for Trump," "Jan. 6 Was an Inside Job" and similar messages. Facing the fact that the day was lost, Greene, Gaetz and company fled the scene.

Gohmert took the podium for a few final comments, declaring, "For those of you that really care about due process, thank you." Gaetz, the former Republican rising star who remains under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct, was peppered with questions by one protester as he departed. "Are you a pedophile?" the heckler demanded as the Florida congressman made his way toward his getaway car. 

The abortive press conference follows a letter sent Saturday by Greene, Gaetz, Gohmert and Gosar to Attorney General Merrick Garland, inquiring about the status and treatment of alleged Jan. 6 rioters who are now incarcerated.

Following the botched presser, Gaetz retweeted a tweet from a right-wing pundit claiming the group of legislators had been "attacked by a left-wing mob." There was no attack, unless you count the above-mentioned "auditory weapon."  

Hardcore MAGA supporters no doubt wanted to hear more from the far-right posse, but were left instead to enjoy a band that rolled up on 9th Street with the avowed purpose of spreading good vibes. 


Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo is an investigative reporter at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo. Send him tips: zpetrizzo@salon.com

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