An “America First” rally with representatives. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) And Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) Were turned down for a third place from California on Saturday, just hours before the event began.
The city of Anaheim rejected the planned rally for the Anaheim Events Center due to “public safety concerns,” spokesman Mike Lyster said in a statement Saturday. The city and the center operator shared concerns about the rally. Lyster did not elaborate on what security concerns they were concerned about.
“As a city, we respect freedom of expression, but we also have a duty to express speech that does not reflect our city and its values,” Lyster noted.
In a final bid to host the event as scheduled, Gaetz tweeted a video of himself, in front of Riverside City Hall, and asked his fans to join him there on Saturday in a “protest against communism. “
His right-wing rally and Greene’s, marked with the same phrase “America First” conspicuously used by the Ku Klux Klan (and former President Donald Trump) – had previously been scheduled in two other Southern California locations, which were also canceled.
Managers of the Pacific Hills Banquet and Events Center in Laguna Hills in Orange County abandoned the rally a week ago once they learned of the nature of the event.
“As soon as we found out who the speakers were, we canceled it immediately.” said manager Javad Mirtavoosi.
“We just want to stay away from that,” he added, without elaborating.
The rally was next scheduled at the Riverside Convention Center, but managers informed local officials Friday that the event at the city-owned venue would not take place after it was widely condemned by residents.
“This was a divisive issue in our community and I am pleased that it has been resolved,” Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson said in a statement announcing the cancellation.
Acting Mayor Gaby Plascencia called Gaetz and Greene the “antithesis of all that Riverside stands for,” adding, “Riverside is a diverse and inclusive community, so it is encouraging to know that this event will not move forward.”
After the cancellation of Riverside, Greene promised on Friday that the rally was still happening. That was before Anaheim ruled out the event.
She complained that she and Gaetz had been targeted by “radical communists” as well as Black Lives Matter and “antifa” supporters, whom she accused of intimidating venues into backing down.
Before Gaetz posted his Riverside City Council video on Saturday, he indicated in a tweet Saturday that he and Greene planned to sue the City of Riverside over the cancellation.
He also invited his followers to “join us today at our alternate location,” which he did not mention. The registration site for the event did not mention a new place. Just five hours before the event started at 6 p.m., people who signed up had not yet been informed of a new location. according to the Orange County Register.
Calling all HuffPost super fans!
Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape the next chapter of HuffPost