US & Canada

Florida congressman is first US politician to be 'milkshaked'

Matt Gaetz Image copyright Getty Images

A US lawmaker has had a milkshake thrown at him in an alleged attack that appears to have spread from the UK.

Republican congressman Matt Gaetz was hit by the flying drink cup as he was leaving a restaurant in Pensacola, Florida, on Saturday.

Amanda Kondrat'yev, 35, who ran against Mr Gaetz as a Democrat in 2016, was charged with battery assault.

Several British politicians and candidates have had milkshakes thrown at them in the last year.

Pro-Brexit leader Nigel Farage has been targeted by creamy projectiles in recent months, leading police to request that some businesses suspend sales of the drinks when political rallies are being held nearby.

In Saturday's incident, which may be the first "milkshaking" of a political figure on American soil, Mr Gaetz was leaving a town hall-style event, part of his three-day "Won't Back Down" tour, at the Brew Ha Ha restaurant.

Video of the alleged attack was filmed and posted on social media. In the video, Mr Gaetz appears to point the assailant out to security after some of the beverage's contents landed on his sleeve.

Image copyright Pensacola Police
Image caption Bail for Amanda Kondrat'yev, 35, was set at $1,000

He later tweeted: "Clearly it takes more than a drink to slow down our great team."

Bail for Ms Kondrat'yev, 35, was set at $1,000 (£800). She took to Facebook to fundraise for her legal expenses following her release.

"Not sure how much court stuff costs but I was charged with Battery today for allegedly milkshaking Congressman Matt Gaetz," she wrote in a fundraiser on Facebook that had pulled in more than $1,000 by Monday.

Referencing "Eggboy", an Australian teen who raised thousands of dollars after smashing an egg on a far-right senator, she wrote that "excess proceeds" would be donated to a worthy cause or "something to offset the damage done by having [expletive] Republicans in charge here".

This is not the first time that Mr Gaetz, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, has crossed paths with Ms Kondrat'yev.

In 2016, she ran against him to represent Florida's 1st District, but withdrew her candidacy before the election.

During the race, Mr Gaetz challenged her to a public debate after she sued the city of Pensacola to try to remove a Christian cross from a public park.

According to Florida media, Ms Kondrat'yev accepted the invitation, but the debate never took place.

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