GOP rep invited alt-right activist to the State of the Union

Republican Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzTrump faces tricky choice on Supreme Court pick Florida attorney general scrutinizing Bloomberg paying fines for felons to vote Lara Trump campaigns with far-right activist candidate Laura Loomer in Florida MORE (Fla.) invited an activist affiliated with the white supremacist "alt-right" movement to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' Trump 'no longer angry' at Romney because of Supreme Court stance MORE's State of the Union address on Tuesday, the Daily Beast reported Wednesday. 

Gaetz said that he invited Chuck Johnson to the address when he "showed up at my office" on Tuesday, according to the Daily Beast report. The congressman, who has risen in prominence amid a Republican push to release a GOP House Intelligence Committee memo on alleged surveillance abuses, said he did not have a pre-existing relationship with Johnson, saying that he only had an extra ticket because his father came down with bronchitis. 

Johnson gave a different explanation for his appearance at the congressional address, saying that while he received invitations from several members of Congress, he accepted Gaetz's invitation because "he's into stuff on the issues that I care about," including the cryptocurrency bitcoin and marijuana.

Johnson runs a crowdfunding site that has raised tens of thousands of dollars for legal fees related to the white supremacist website the Daily Stormer, as well as various other figures in the alt-right movement. 

Johnson has also said that the actual number of Holocaust victims is far lower than the accepted total, and questioned whether gas chambers were used at Nazi concentration camps, though he maintains that he is not a Holocaust denier. 

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Inviting Johnson to the State of the Union isn't Gaetz's only recent brush with conspiracy theory culture. Earlier this week, Gaetz appeared on prominent pro-Trump conspiracy theorist Alex Jones's online show, Infowars. In his appearance, Gaetz complained about being described as a conspiracy theorist.