Florida Democrat condemns protester who threw a drink at GOP lawmaker

Greg Nash

A Democratic member of Florida’s congressional delegation has condemned a protester who allegedly assaulted GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.) by throwing a drink on him outside a town hall meeting.

“This behavior is not only illegal, it degrades our politics & our humanity. America is better than this,” Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), co-chairwoman of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition, tweeted Monday.

Video footage of the Saturday incident in Pensacola, Fla., shows a drink flying out of the crowd and hitting the GOP lawmaker.

{mosads}A spokesperson for Gaetz told The Hill on Saturday that people who cause violence at the lawmaker’s town halls can expect prosecution.

“All people are invited to participate in our #OpenGaetz town hall events regardless of viewpoint. If anyone assaults anyone else, they can expect to be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law to ensure the security of all law-abiding participants. We continue to express our deep gratitude to the brave law enforcement officials who always keep our events and our community safe,” Gaetz’s office said in a statement.

Amanda Kondrat’yev, who ran for Gaetz’s seat in a 2016 Democratic primary but later withdrew, was arrested and charged with battery for allegedly throwing the drink, according to the Pensacola News Journal.

Kondrat’yev has since started a fundraiser on Facebook to cover her legal costs.

“Not sure how much court stuff costs but I was charged with Battery today for allegedly milkshaking Congressman Matt Gaetz. Funds will be used for court and related expenses unless donors specify otherwise. If I have extra from legal funds I will help fund local jail support for protesters. Local organizers really scrambled today. Love you all,” Kondrat’yev wrote.

Gaetz, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, has been a vocal defender of President Trump on cable news and in committee hearings.

Throwing drinks at politicians has become a trend across the Atlantic, where British protesters have recently engaged in “milkshaking,” or throwing milkshakes at controversial politicians such as Brexit party leader Nigel Farage.

It reached a point where police asked a McDonald’s restaurant near a location where Farage was speaking not to sell milkshakes out of concern that people might buy them to throw at him, according to The Guardian.

Pensacola police told The Washington Post, however, that the drink thrown at Gaetz was not a milkshake.
Tags Donald Trump Matt Gaetz Stephanie Murphy

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