Their words support Mr. Trump’s core policies: cutting immigration, attacking liberal messaging on race and policing, targeting big tech companies. But Brian Robinson, a Republican strategist from Georgia, said there was a big difference between someone who excites activists and someone who has Mr. Trump’s universal name recognition and business-friendly persona.
“A person like Marjorie Taylor Greene attracts crowds and attention because they are speaking to an audience that feels marginalized but also mobilized, because they’re angry,” he said.
“But revving up certain segments of the party can also alienate other parts of the party,” he added, saying the same thing happens to Democrats.
Michael Murphy, a Republican consultant based in California, said, “They fascinate the media,” but added that “as far as real muscle, even in the Republican primary, they’re just one of many factions.”
Still, Ms. Greene and Mr. Gaetz may have the next-best thing, according to rally attendees, other close watchers of the Republican Party and even some liberals. They are messengers of the type of white grievance politics that Mr. Trump deployed nationally. They say openly what others will only hint at, no matter its factual basis or the risk of backlash. And they speak with the fearful moral urgency that many Republican voters feel.
“It’s hard for me to think about 2024, because I don’t know if we’ll make it there,” Ms. Pietraszewski said, expressing dire worries about the country’s future. “With the Black Lives Matter and Marxism and critical race theory, I don’t know.”
At the rally, Ms. Greene called Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who is Somali-born, “a traitor to America.” Mr. Gaetz said that Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, the first Black person to serve in that role, “might be the stupidest person to have ever served in a presidential cabinet in America’s history.” Ms. Greene declared that the United States faced a new “axis of evil” made up of the news media, Democrats and big tech companies. They both promised to support the Jan. 6 Capitol rioters who had been arrested.