A private venue in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday pulled out from hosting an “America First” rally organized by Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) just hours before the event was set to take place – the third cancellation the right-wing lawmakers have faced in California.
Mike Lyster, a spokesperson for the City of Anaheim, told Forbes that the operators of the private Anaheim Event Center canceled the event Saturday over “public safety concerns” after “conversation and consultation” with the city.
The move comes after Raincross Hospitality, a private company that operates the Riverside Convention Center under contract with the city of Riverside, Calif., backed out of hosting Gaetz and Greene’s rally on Friday.
The reason for the Riverside venue’s decision was unclear, but it came amid vocal opposition to the rally from local residents and officials, including Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), who represents the community in Congress.
Greene’s campaign said in an email to supporters late Friday night “we are changing the venue a third time,” accusing Democrats and Black Lives Matter of “doing everything they can to kick us out of California” and “harass and bully any venue we book.”
The rally was originally scheduled to take place in Laguna Hills, but the operator of the venue there canceled last week to “stay clear” of controversy.
Forbes has reached out for comment to spokespeople for Gaetz and Greene, as well as Raincross Hospitality and the Anaheim Event Center.
After being stripped of her committee assignments in February over social media posts from before she ran for office endorsing political violence, Greene has stoked controversy by comparing coronavirus restrictions to the Holocaust and verbally accosting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) outside the House chamber. Gaetz has been embroiled in scandal since March surrounding a federal probe into allegations of sex trafficking, illegal drug use and obstruction of justice. Both lawmakers have also downplayed the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“Riverside is a diverse and inclusive community, so it is heartening to hear that this event will not move forward. I am disappointed we even got to this point, because these speakers are the antithesis of everything Riverside stands for,” Gaby Plascencia, a nonpartisan member of the Riverside City Council, said in a statement.
Gaetz and Greene have used a series of “America First” rallies to baselessly question the results of the 2020 election and slam both Democrats and fellow Republicans in Congress. Greene said at a rally in May she was “chewed out” by Republicans for forcing recorded votes on legislation that would’ve otherwise passed by voice vote. At another rally later that month, she compared Democrats to Nazis, calling them both “national socialist” parties.