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GOP rally with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene moves to Fairgrounds after 14 Bones says ‘No’

STORY BY RAY MCNULTY (Week of April 22, 2021)
Photo: Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Local Republican Club Chairman Jay Kramer said he expects more than 300 people to attend a Saturday morning rally at the Indian River County Fairgrounds, where controversial Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is scheduled to be the headline speaker.

“It’s becoming a bigger event than I thought it would be,” Kramer said, “so we might get more.”

The breakfast event initially was scheduled to be held at 14 Bones Barbeque on U.S. 1 in Vero Beach, but a harsh social-media backlash convinced the restaurant’s owner, Scot Wilke, to back out.

Kramer said he told Wilke that Greene would be the event’s marquee attraction, but Wilke said he didn’t recall Kramer mentioning her name or warning that she is a political lightning rod.

“We’ve worked with the Republican Club before, and when we agreed to do this one, we thought it was just another event,” he added. “We were blindsided by the response.

"We were a paid vendor, not an organizer or sponsor of the event."

Kramer said he understood Wilke’s decision to withdraw.

“When Scot called, I could tell he was shaken,” Kramer said. “He said he was getting too much pressure. I appreciate him trying to help us out.”

Kramer said he’s anticipating the arrival of protesters, but Democrats of Indian River President Al Griffiths said his attempt to organize a protest failed because “people are afraid of the people she will attract,” especially at a time when mass shootings are so prevalent in America.

Griffiths said the local Republican club invited Greene because she has a “receptive audience” in the county.

Since being elected to Congress in November, Greene has made national headlines with her far-right views, fervent embrace of conspiracy theories and inflammatory rhetoric.

Kramer said that after speaking at the Fairgrounds, Greene is scheduled to travel to Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach later Saturday for a fundraiser.