Republican Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett told The Daily Caller Wednesday that he meant to go after violent leftist antifa activists in a Tuesday tweet in which he adopted the protesters’ moniker.
“I’m ANTI-FAscism! That makes me #ANTIFA! If you are too, like and retweet, if not, maybe you’re pro-fascism. We are the 99%!” Garett tweeted.
Antifa activists frequently show up in black-clad attire to right wing events and wreck havoc. This past weekend in Berkeley, two people were hospitalized after violence broke out when antifa protesters targeted an anti-Marxist rally. Antifa groups are also labeled as domestic terrorist “anarchist extremists” by New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security.
Rep. Garrett, who is in his first term, told The Daily Caller, “It’s amazing to me that it’s difficult for people to comprehend something that is said to make a larger point, which is if you change brown-shirts to black masks you have yourself a fascist.”
Indeed, Garett’s tweet was taken literally by conservatives. National security expert Jim Hanson tweeted, “What on Earth is wrong with you? As a US Congressman, you just claimed membership in a [domestic terror] group Get some rest.”
While conservative documentary maker Dinesh D’Souza tweeted, “From a Republican! This shows how deeply the big lie pervades the culture.”
Rep. Garett told TheDC that his tweet meant to point out that the antifa protesters have “attempted to co-opt the lexicon knowing that no one will challenge them.”
“The implied sort of statement behind them saying they are anti-fascist is that the people they are opposed to are fascist. Which is so ridiculous on its face that somebody had to take a needle and poke that balloon,” the Virginia congressman said. “No one had the courage to say that the ones who say they are anti fascist are fascists.”
Antifa activists aren’t necessarily fascists but aim to make America “ungovernable” and promote communism.
The denunciations of antifa have been slow, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi denounced the group by name Tuesday night. “The violent actions of people calling themselves antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted,” Pelosi said in a statement.