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Gaetz: 'Privilege’ arguments are racist

Jim Thompson
jthompson@nwfdailynews.com
Northwest Florida Daily News

PHOENIX, Arizona — Invoking President Calvin Coolidge at Tuesday’s Students For Trump convention at Dream City Church, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., called terms like "male privilege,“ ”white privilege“ — and, he quickly added ”black privilege“ — ”racist terms to try to tell people to shut up.“

“And we’re done being quiet!” Gaetz said in a red-meat conservative speech to a packed house at Phoenix’s Dream City Church. President Donald Trump was the headliner for the student group, formed in 2015 ahead of Trump’s election to the presidency, and now working to get him re-elected.

Gaetz, who represents Northwest Florida in Congress, used his time in front of the crowd to urge their support for Trump, but also to lay out the philosophical underpinnings of his own conservatism. Gaetz is facing a Democratic challenger, retired U.S. Navy pilot Phil Ehr, in the November election for another two-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“President Coolidge ... said that as Americans, we are the peers of kings,” Gaetz told the crowd jammed into the church. “And I don’t think it’s a bad thing if we start acting like it. Some might call that ’male privilege’ or ’white privilege.’ You know what? These terms are just racist terms to try to tell people to shut up. And we’re done being quiet.”

Gaetz quickly moved to make his statement more inclusive, adding in his next breath, “I reject the notion of white privilege or black privilege or any other type of privilege,” he said. “We are all unified in one American privilege that we should be proud of and fight for with everything we have.”

Gaetz opened his speech by saying America is under attack by, among other things, what he called the “China virus,” a reference to the new coronavirus now sweeping the globe.

Also according to Gaetz, America has been “divided by anarchists’ riots, and manipulated by the tyranny of big tech.”

“I’m not ready for the ’woke-topia’ being built by the radical left,” he said, later in the speech. “It’s not only treacherous, it’s un-American. They would disarm law-abiding Americans, and then take the assailants and abusers and even murderers and turn them out on our streets with no bail.”

Gaetz also told his cheering audience that the “radical left would dilute Americanism with unchecked immigration as they attack and destroy our history. They want us to be ashamed of our history because they want us to be ashamed of our country.”

Referencing President Trump’s efforts to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Gaetz continued, “Once we build that wall, we need someone to man the gates. ... At times they’ll swing open, but those gates must always remain closed to anyone who would do our nation harm — morally, physically or economically.”

Gaetz later pivoted to U.S. relations with communist China, saying that the left-wing efforts he sees as harming this country are “precisely what will accelerate the rise of red China.”

Gaetz also spoke about what he called “big tech,” including the operators of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

“Big tech cheats,” Gaetz said. “ .. They ’de-platform conservatives. ... What they really want is for us to self-censor. They don’t want us to forcefully defend America ... .”

“Well, screw that,” Gaetz continued. “We’re the America First movement. These colors don’t run or fade. We will never apologize for American progress. We will never cave to the ’cancel culture.’”