Matt Gaetz Shot Down for Requesting Pledge of Allegiance Recital in Viral Video

A proposal from Florida Republican Matt Gaetz that every meeting of the House Judiciary Committee begin with a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance was given short shrift by his Democratic colleague in a video that has been viewed nearly a million times.

Gaetz, who has served as the U.S. representative for Florida's 1st congressional district since 2017, shared a clip of the exchange on his Twitter account. In it, the Trump-supporting GOP congressman asked that the Pledge of Allegiance be recited at the start of each committee session.

Gaetz suggested it would be a "great, unifying patriotic moment." But the committee chair, New York Democrat Jerry Nadler, explained that the pledge is already taken at the start of the day in the House and that a second pledge before the committee would be "unnecessary."

"I just think it would be nice, in the spirit of national unity, and national pride, which I know we all aspire to do to a greater extent, that the beginning of each meeting, the chair, or one of the designees of the chair, would have the opportunity to lead us in a Pledge of Allegiance," Gaetz said.

"We are all aware that in these times it is important for the country to see members of Congress working together on some things and while I know we can deal with divisive issues in the committee, it would be my hope that we could start every committee with a great, unifying, patriotic moment."

Nadler replied: "I recognise myself to speak in opposition to the amendment. It is unnecessary.

"The House begins every day with the Pledge of Allegiance, we are covered by that, there is no necessity to say to pledge allegiance twice during the same day."

I proposed that we begin each meeting of the House Judiciary Committee by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Democrats just said "no."@RepJerryNadler said it's "unnecessary."

— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) February 4, 2021

The pledge was first published in 1892 and has been adapted twice since. It states: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The pledge in the House is led by a designated member from the majority and minority party on alternating days. A 1943 U.S. Supreme Court ruling stated that no one can be required to recite the pledge. It has become a touchstone for conservatives who see it as a declaration of religious patriotism.

Rep Matt Gaetz
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) (2nd R) leaves a GOP meeting at the U.S. Capitol on February 03, 2021 in Washington, DC. Ten House Republicans voted to impeach Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, but Gaetz has remained a loyal supporter of the former president. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

On Thursday, Gaetz said he would be willing to resign to defend Donald Trump in the upcoming impeachment trial.

Gaetz, who worked as a lawyer before turning to politics, told the Steve Bannon podcast War Room Pandemic: "If the president called me and wanted me to go defend him on the floor of the Senate, that would be the top priority in my life.

"I would leave my House seat, I would leave my home, I would do anything I had to do to ensure that the greatest president in my lifetime—one of the greatest presidents our country has ever had, maybe the greatest president our country has ever had—got a full-throated defense that wasn't crouched down, that wasn't in fear of losing some moderate Republican senator but that was worthy of the fight that he gave to the great people of this country for four years."

Newsweek contacted Gaetz for further comment.