People are trolling Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) after President Donald Trump repeatedly called him “Rick Gates” at a rally in Florida on Friday.
The embarrassing moment was caught on camera. In the video, which is being widely circulated online, Trump refers to Gaetz multiple times as “Rick” when talking about the thwarted plot to kidnap and murder Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Trump is being criticized for previously tweeting “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and railing against Whitmer specifically. Whitmer, along with other Democrats, accused Trump of inciting such violence with his rhetoric.
“And then she said it was my fault,” Trump says, referring to Whitmer. “It was my people that caught them. It was Trump’s fault. It’s always Trump’s fault.”
“Can it ever be, like, Rick Gates’ fault?” Trump continues, pointing to Gaetz. “I mean, eh? It’s always Trump’s fault, Rick.”
Trump devolves into a rant about how he refuses to call “shameless, wealthy, liberal hypocrites in Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley” for help with his reelection campaign because he doesn’t “want their money.”
“Even though they hated me, they’d all contribute. But Rick, you understand it: I don’t want to make those calls,” Trump says.
Even though people in the crowd try to correct the president by chanting “Matt” and “Matt Gaetz,” Trump persists.
“I don’t want to make those calls, right? Huh? Yeah, I know. Where is Rick? He’s here. Where is Rick? Where is Rick?” he says.
Rick Gates is actually the name of one of his former aides who pled guilty, in part, to crimes related to Russian interference in the 2016 election. While Gates’ prison sentence was temporarily suspended due to the pandemic, he was not at Trump’s rally on Friday.
Gaetz is one of Trump’s most ardent supporters. People online just couldn’t help themselves after the president apparently renamed Gaetz. Some are now responding to Gaetz’s most recent posts and previous tweets about his support for Trump with “OK Rick.”
“Imagine tweeting this and then getting called the wrong name multiple times by that president in front of thousands of people,” one user wrote, quote-tweeting one of Gaetz’s posts, in which he declares that he “will never love another President” as he does Trump.
Others are posting memes of how they think Gaetz felt when Trump got his name wrong and are reimagining him as “Rick Gates.”
It wasn’t long before “Rick Gates” and “OK Rick” began trending on Twitter.
Gaetz’s Democratic challenger Phil Ehr is even using the moment to his advantage. “Donate to help us cross the finish line and defeat Rick Gates,” he wrote in one tweet, including his fundraising link.
Trump eventually got Gaetz’s name right, thanking him at the end of the clip. “So, I just want to thank everybody, and we do have some special people. Uhh, Matt, stand up. Come here, I just want to tell something. This guy, Matt Gaetz. So, Matt’s been another one of our stars,” he says.
Gaetz isn’t the first Trump person who has had their name publicly botched by the president. Newsweek even dedicated a whole video on YouTube to all the times Trump has gotten a name wrong.
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*First Published: Oct 17, 2020, 9:40 am
Eilish O’Sullivan is the news wire editor for the Daily Dot. Her work has appeared in the Austin Chronicle and the Daily Texan.
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