Louie Gohmert endorses Yesli Vega in Locust Grove rally
By MADISON BROWN
Congressional candidate Yesli Vega was endorsed by outgoing Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) at a rally in Locust Grove on Friday.
Gohmert spoke for just over 30 minutes to the roughly 20 attendees in which he addressed accusations of racism, accused Australia of operating internment camps and teased a potential radio show and podcast in the future.
He tied his endorsement of Vega — who was born in Houston, Texas to Salvadoran immigrants — to his defense against many accusations of racism over the years. “Some people, especially some in the mainstream media, have seen the way I have been concerned about our southern border and draw the conclusion that, ‘Oh, you must hate Hispanics,’” he said, shortly after introducing her. “Are you crazy?”
He later added, “The founding people [of the United States], you had very few, but you had a few exceptions, but they had a faith in God, they had a devotion to their family, they had a hard work ethic, and believed in helping the country. Yesli has all of those things. And when I look, generally speaking, at the Hispanic culture, I mean, what do you see? A faith in God, devotion to family, a hard work ethic, and a care about the country.”
He went on to repeat his claim that migrants crossing the southern border to the United States constitute an “invasion.”
He claimed that the United States did not have a racist history, saying its founding fathers “put an aspirational challenge that people should be treated equal,” and “no other country has fought a civil war over slavery.”
Later, Gohmert warned audience members of yet another invasion, this coming from China. “One [legislator] said, ‘well, if we lose our freedom here, we can all just pack up and go to Australia,’ […] Do you not understand? If we lose our freedom here, China will take us over before you can even think about going to Australia.
“And since then, we’ve seen with COVID – who would’ve ever dreamed that Australia would have internment camps over a vaccination that has not been properly tested?”
This is in reference to a since-debunked rumor that circulated in Australian right wing media in 2021. The Australian government had required unvaccinated travelers entering the country to quarantine in hotels for 14 days to prevent domestic transmission of COVID-19.
Gohmert went on to address his recent loss in Texas’ attorney general race. “I’m curious as to what I’m going to do come January,” he shared, “But I’m not going to be silent. Rush Limbaugh is a producer and dear friend, and he was saying, ‘you need a radio show and a podcast.’” This statement was met with some applause and “amen’s”. (Limbaugh died in 2021.)
“But I don’t know what I’m going to do,” he added quickly.
Gohmert continued for so long that he had to be interrupted by Vega’s campaign staff to ensure she had enough time to speak.
Vega spoke about her background, her experiences with gang violence during childhood, her background in law enforcement, and especially her Christian faith and belief in American greatness. She railed against Democratic incumbent Abigail Spanberger, giving her the nickname “Downtown Abby.”
“[Spanberger] is afraid. The last person she wants to go toe-to-toe with is Yesli Vega,” she claimed.
Vega also touted her endorsement from the National ICE Council, a union of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. She has been criticized by left-leaning activists as a dubious representative of the Latino community during her time as a district supervisor in Prince William County because of her anti-immigrant views and policies.
Vega was well received by the small crowd, which gave her enthusiastic applause. One attendee, a Bryce Reeves supporter who had expressed skepticism about Vega, later shared that she may have won his vote, saying, “I think she’s more of a firebrand than I knew.”
If Vega wins the Republican primary election on June 21st, she will run against incumbent Spanberger for the redrawn Seventh District’s Congressional seat on Nov. 8th.