As Silicon Valley recovers from Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Jose, a beleaguered US congressman attacked alleged conservative censorship by Silicon Valley tech companies and urged supporters to exercise their right to wear arms.
Florida Republican Matt Gaetz, allegedly investigated into sex trafficking and child sex allegations, at a rally in Georgia on Thursday, referred to “Internet room monitors in Silicon Valley, ”and continued,“ They think they can kill us, discourage us.
“Maybe if you’re just a little less patriotic. Maybe if you conform to their way of thinking a little more, you will be allowed to participate in the digital world. But you know what, Silicon Valley can’t cancel this movement, or this rally, or this congressman.
Video of the rally, and a transcript released by the San Francisco Transcription Company Rev, indicate that Gaetz immediately followed an urge regarding the right to bear arms, enshrined in an amendment to the US Constitution. “We have a Second Amendment in this country and I think we have an obligation to use it,” Gaetz said.
The speech, at a rally where Gaetz appeared alongside controversial Georgian Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, was condemned by Republican Congressman from Illinois Adam Kinzinger, who retweeted a music video and commented that ‘ it showed the need for a commission to investigate January 6. insurgency at the US Capitol.
“Four months after an insurgency on Capitol Hill, we hear this language at another rally where so-called ‘leaders’ stir up fears and anger and incite violence.” Kinzinger tweeted.
However, a spokesperson for Gaetz denied on Friday that the congressman made a connection between criticism of tech companies and guns. He noted that Gaetz, before discussing tech companies and alleged censorship, spoke about the First Amendment, which guarantees the rights to free speech and assembly.
Video: Hear What Matt Gaetz Said About Paul Ryan Before His Speech
Gaetz had highlighted a “movement” that he linked to former President Donald Trump. “As President Trump reminds us, we are the elite now, and therefore use the Constitution to strengthen our argument and our movement,” Gaetz said. “We have the right to speak and meet under the First Amendment, and we better use it.”
Google, Facebook, Twitter and Apple did not immediately respond to questions about whether they were taking action, such as increasing security measures for employees, following Gaetz’s comments. The FBI did not immediately respond to questions about whether it was looking into the matter or discussing security with tech companies following the congressman’s speech.
Gaetz was speaking a day after a Silicon Valley gunman shot and killed himself and nine colleagues in a Valley Transportation Authority yard in San Jose. In 2018, a woman shot and killed three people at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno. Her father told this news agency that she complained that the company censored her videos and stopped paying her for the videos she posted.
Gaetz spokesman Harlan Hill said language about Silicon Valley was part of Gaetz’s argument about the First Amendment. “He concluded this point – which included the part on Silicon Valley – and moved on to discuss how the Second Amendment is a public defense against government tyranny. These were two separate points.
The congressman’s comments on the social media giants’ alleged anti-conservative biases reflect a long-standing complaint against Silicon Valley by some conservatives. Former President Donald Trump also claimed as recently as this week in an email to his supporters that he was “illegally” banned by “Big Tech” from social media platforms that kicked him out after the insurgency. January 6.
A report released in February by New York University’s Stern School of Business described the notion that social media companies censor conservative voices as “disinformation” and “a lie” that was unsupported by any reliable proof. “No large-scale, reputable study has determined that conservative content is removed for ideological reasons or that research is manipulated to advance liberal interests,” the report said.
Gaetz, according to multiple media outlets, is facing an investigation into whether he was involved in sex trafficking and whether he paid women and a minor for sex. He denied the information.