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Gaetz Rails Against Liz Cheney and the Republican Establishment in CPAC Speech

Saul Loeb/Pool via AP

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) rallied conservatives at CPAC on Friday. The congressman called for a renewed "patriotic nationalism" in the country equipped to take on both China and the political establishment. On the subject of the establishment, Gaetz took a swipe at Rep. Liz Cheney (RINO-WY). 

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"Speaking of people who ought to lose primaries, if Liz Cheney were on this stage today, she would get booed off of it. What does that say?" he asked.

Following cheers, Gaetz continued, "The leadership of our party is not found in Washington, D.C. You are the energy. We are America. That’s why they’re in the eight square miles of Washington D.C., and we’re here in the Sunshine State of Florida."

Cheney has fallen out of favor with many on the right after leading a handful of GOP House members in voting to impeach President Trump following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. The Wyoming at-large representative in the House hasn't backed away from her criticism of the former president despite calls for her resignation, a censure, and new primary opponents. 

But holding Cheney accountable for her defection has become a crusade for Rep. Gaetz. In late January, the Florida Republican traveled to Wyoming to rally GOP voters behind the cause of primarying Cheney. According to Gaetz, Cheney is a "disloyal" representative "owned by special interests." 

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Wyoming Republicans certainly need very little cajoling from Gaetz when it comes to Liz Cheney. Shortly after Cheney's vote to impeach the president, the Wyoming Republican Party issued a statement detailing the unprecedented outcry from Republicans throughout the state. In response, the state party slapped Cheney with a censure and called on the representative to step down. 

Several of the 10 House Republicans who joined Cheney in voting for impeachment have similarly been censored or find themselves facing new primary opponents back at home. 

Rep. Matt Gaetz's full CPAC speech is below: 

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