The Escambia County Democratic Women’s Club is planning a protest on Feb. 23 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Grover T’s BBQ in Milton when Congressman Matt Gaetz gives a legislative update to constituents as part of his “Open Gaetz Day.”
On Facebook, club members explained the protest:
“Gaetz has just drafted a bill to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency at the end of 2018. We need the EPA to protect us, our air and water, yet Gaetz would create chaos and endanger us because regulations stand in the way of his Republican plans. He stands with the climate change denying GOP.
“Gaetz has also co-sponsored legislation to limit the powers of federal regulators. Gaetz fully supports Trump’s immigration ban and the building of the wall netween the United States and Mexico.
“Gaetz stated while campaigning that he wants to abolish the Department of Education and to end our relationship with the United Nations.
“Gaetz is working to repeal Obama Care.
“We knew Gaetz was going to be another regressive GOP lawmaker, following in the footsteps of Jeff Miller. Yet it looks like he is planning to be even worse for our country. He does not represent the people of Northwest Florida. Protest and let’s send him home in 2018!”
The protest drew criticism from Geoff Ross, who identified himself as being part of the Santa Rosa Militia.
Ross described the Democratic women’s group as “The Communist Democrat Party of Escambia County” and called the protestors “marxists.”
“I will be mustering up the militia forces at 10:30 a.m.,” wrote Ross on Facebook. “I need all patriots in attendance to protect Congressman Gaetz from any potential disruption of his speech. Concealed carry permit holders most welcome – don’t forget your ammo.”
He added, “We support the right of protesters to protest but we must prepare a defensive posture for Congressman Gaetz. These Marxists have shown a propensity for violence at their protests across this nation – we will be there with the Sherriff to ensure force protection of our Congressman.”
The Escambia County Democratic Women’s Club participated in the local women’s march and the immigration protest at the Pensacola International Airport last month. Both protests were peaceful.
Inweekly contacted Kavontae Smalls, communications director for Rep. Gaetz.
We know protesters are expected to come … to which extent is in the air at this point,” he said.
“We are working on arrangements to ensure safety is not an issue on Feb. 23.”
Democratic Women’s Club President Dianne Krumel told Inweekly she has reported Ross’s comments to the FBI, Pensacola Police, and Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office.