Greene and Gaetz get warm, America First welcome at rally in Dalton, Georgia

Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Congressman Matt Gaetz and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene speak during an America First rally at the Dalton Convention Center in Dalton, Ga. on Thursday, May 27, 2021.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, spent her birthday Thursday night hosting a rally with more than a hundred supporters in Dalton as part of her "America First" tour with U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida.

Greene was showered with homecoming cheers at the Dalton Convention Center after she drove in on a military Humvee that was featured in some of her earlier campaign ads.

The crowd sang Greene "Happy Birthday" before the freshman congresswoman spent the better part of an hour talking about the many run-ins she's had in Congress and aggressively criticizing Democrats and her other political enemies.

It didn't take long for Greene to mention former President Donald Trump and his claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, particularly in Georgia, although those claims have been rejected by state officials, the courts, the Electoral College, Trump's own administration and eventually Congress.

"I have a very important question," Greene said. "We've got to clear something up - who won the presidential race on Nov. 3 in Georgia?"

The crowd chanted Trump's name, not that of President Joe Biden.

Greene said that with all the signs, rallies and boat parades in Georgia, she thinks there's reason to be skeptical of who really won.

"Did anyone see a Joe Biden rally?" she asked. "Joe Biden hasn't even had a rally this big. He can't, they don't even let him out of the basement, you all. They don't want people to know what happens when his meds wear off. It's a pitiful thing."

Greene said that if Georgia voters want an audit, they should get an audit.

Georgia Congressman Jody Hice, who is running for secretary of state, echoed the idea that the Georgia election was rigged. Hice notably once rescinded his endorsement of Congresswoman Greene.

Hice blamed Republican losses in November and January on the way incumbent Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger handled the election. Trump tried to pressure Raffensperger to "find" more votes for him, which Raffensperger declined to do.

Amid ongoing concerns from Trump and his supporters that the election system was flawed, many Republicans stayed home, especially in the January runoff elections for two U.S. Senate seats, which the GOP lost. Election data showed a sharp drop in voter turnout in Greene's deep red district, a large contributor to the losses.

Gaetz came out with plenty of energy, calling the GOP "Donald Trump's Party" and himself "a Donald Trump Republican."

"We are not powerless," Gaetz said. "This is a powerful movement, we are powerful people and as President Trump reminds us, we are the elite now."

Gaetz riled up the crowd by talking about the Second Amendment, telling them it gives people "the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government," if necessary. That got a standing ovation.

Both representatives bashed Biden for his handling of border issues, criticized Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and said time and time again how dangerous Democrats' "socialist agenda" is for America.

Greene thanked small business owners for what they do and how hard it is to operate under the Biden administration. She complained about higher gas prices, called for an end to abortion in America and called Speaker Nancy Pelosi a "maskhole" for requiring face coverings in Congress as long as a substantial portion of the GOP caucus remains unvaccinated.

Greene also said she would never again wear a mask on the House floor.

"We will not be treated like second-class citizens because we don't want to wear a mask anymore and we don't want to get a vaccine that's not approved by the FDA," Greene said.

COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for emergency use in the U.S. amid a pandemic that has killed 591,000 people.

Greene has made headlines over the past week for her comments comparing wearing masks to the Holocaust.

Nan Stephens, a Greene supporter from Carrollton, said she had no problem with what Greene said and even said the same herself.

"In fact, I wrote a letter to my family, my sisters, and I said the exact same thing, and this was back in October," Stephens said. "That's what it's like. So no I have no problem with her saying that. She has spunk, and she tells the truth."

Gaetz is not a stranger to recent controversy either. CNN reported last week that Gaetz's ex-girlfriend was cooperating with federal authorities in an ongoing investigation of sex-trafficking that allegedly involves Gaetz.

Joel Greenberg, a onetime Gaetz friend, pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors and is cooperating in an ongoing probe. Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing.

Allen Croft lives in Whitfield County. Regretfully, Croft said, he did not vote for Greene in the November election. But after seeing Greene stand up to Pelosi in the first few weeks of Congress, he was sold.

"She's fighting for people like us," Croft said.

As far as policy, passing legislation and getting meaningful work done, Croft said that's not what he wants from his elected official in Washington.

"I don't care if she gets one bill passed," he said. "She's a voice. That's what I want. Same way Donald Trump was. I didn't expect much from him when it came to that stuff. I just want someone who has a voice."

Contact Patrick Filbin at or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.