By KEITH RIDLER – Associated Press
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Republican Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin and Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene were among speakers at a white nationalist rally in Florida.
McGeachin gave a taped speech at America’s first political action conference on Friday and Greene appeared in person. McGeachin appears to be one of the highest elected state officials to ever attend one of the group’s rallies.
Social media video from the Orlando rally showed attendees cheering on Russian President Vladimir Putin, after he ordered his forces to invade Ukraine.
McGeachin, who is on the Idaho gubernatorial campaign, told people gathered in Florida that she needed “freedom fighters across the country who are ready to stand up and fight,” even if it means to fight “in our own ranks”.
She said as acting governor of Idaho, she twice issued executive orders involving COVID-19 vaccinations and mask mandates while Republican Gov. Brad Little was out of office. State. Little never issued a statewide mask mandate and fought against President Joe Biden’s vaccine demands.
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The America First political action conference that hosted the Orlando event is led by Nick Fuentes, described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a white nationalist trying to push the Republican Party to the far right.
McGeachin, in a statement on Twitter, said she was invited by the America First political action conference to submit a video, “and I took the opportunity to share my perspective on these vital America First policies.” .
She added that “the media wants us to play a game of guilt by association.”
McGeachin’s chief of staff, Jordan Watters, did not respond to emails and phone messages on Saturday seeking further comment on McGeachin’s decision to address the rally.
A group of more moderate Idaho Republicans, members of a group called Take Back Idaho, called on McGeachin on Saturday to resign, saying her speech at the rally “shows she is openly courting the more extreme fringes of society. “.
Greene, according to various outlets, said she was unaware of Fuentes’ views.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming took issue with Republicans’ participation in what she called a “white supremacist, anti-Semitic, pro-Putin event.”
On Twitter, she also challenged the silence of her fellow Republicans.
“All Americans should renounce this garbage and dismiss the Putin wing of the GOP now,” she tweeted.
Cheney has set several fundraising personal bests despite a backlash from the GOP following his vote to impeach Trump during the January 6, 2021 uprising at the United States Capitol and for his relentless public criticism of Trump. Trump backs his Republican opponent in Wyoming’s Republican primary in August.
Trump has endorsed McGeachin for governor of Idaho. Little, who often touts the state’s record budget surplus of about $2 billion and deep cuts to state regulations, hasn’t announced he’s running for office, but we’re sure expects it to do so in the coming weeks.
Idaho hasn’t had a Democratic governor in decades, and the state’s gubernatorial election is usually decided in the Idaho Republican primary in May, as the winner of that contest almost always wins. subsequent general elections.
Another well-known name in the gubernatorial race, anti-government activist Ammon Bundy, dropped out of the Republican primary earlier this month to run as an independent.
Bundy gained international attention when he led a group of armed activists in the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon to protest federal control of public lands. He was later acquitted of federal charges related to the occupation.
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