Florida Rep. Gaetz reveals he was attacked at festival over weekend, assailant arrested and charged

May 3, 2023
Ben Marquis

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), due to his outspoken support for former President Donald Trump and opposition to the political establishment of both parties in Washington D.C., has been labeled and targeted as an enemy by most Democrats and even some Republicans.

That led over the weekend to him being assaulted by a woman while he was at a non-political event with his wife and friends, the Conservative Brief reported.

The woman, who does not live in Gaetz's Northwest Florida congressional district, was arrested and has been criminally charged for her actions in the incident.

Attacker arrested and charged

The office of Rep. Gaetz issued a press release on Tuesday to announce that Selena Chambers, 41, a resident of Tallahassee, assaulted the congressman on Saturday evening while he was at a private event in Sandestin.

Chambers was placed under arrest by deputies of the Walton County Sheriff's Office and has been hit with two criminal charges -- one count of battery on an elected official and one count of battery, to touch or strike.

The announcement from Gaetz's office further noted that Chambers is a self-described member of the anti-Trump "resistance" and is a registered Democratic voter.

"I will never allow the safety of Northwest Floridians to be compromised," Gaetz said in a statement. "I will be pressing charges against this individual in order to uphold the civility our community deserves. Thank you to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office for taking swift action."

Gaetz issues extended commentary on incident, his assailant

In addition to the press release and statement, Rep. Gaetz also posted a video to Twitter to more fully explain what occurred and why such incidents should not be deemed acceptable by anybody in purportedly civil society, regardless of political differences.

The congressman first explained how the Spring and Fall months in his section of Florida's Panhandle often feature a variety of different "festivals" for locals and tourists to enjoy, and how he and his wife had attended on Saturday the four-day South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival in the town of Sandestin.

While hanging out with some friends at the event and chatting with one individual in particular, Gaetz recalled how Chambers approached and threw her drink on both of them, after which she was "promptly arrested" by Walton County deputies.

"Appropriate consequences"

As to why he decided to press charges in such an incident that some might let slide, the congressman said that it was perfectly acceptable for people to voice their differences, "But if we start allowing stuff to be thrown or hurled, if we allow people to be harmed, there is a severe risk of escalation and accident, and we don't want to see anyone in harm's way -- whether it's family members or supporters or even our detractors, we want them to be safe too."

Gaetz then spent a moment sharing what he had learned of his assailant and her leftist beliefs and dedication to the "resistance" of Trump and those who are aligned with the former president.

He concluded, "Whenever there is a conservative who acts out of line, it's like the biggest story in the world, but when you get a radicalized leftist breaking the peace in my community -- who traveled here, by the way, from Tallahassee, Florida -- I doubt it will get the same pickup, but we'll make sure that there are appropriate consequences through the legal system, because that is what the safety of our community demands."

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