QAnon conspiracy theorist to feel warm embrace of Republicans in Congress

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Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia businesswoman and conservative ..... SWAMP.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia businesswoman and conservative activist, is all but certain to win a seat in Congress, meaning a believer in the growing QAnon conspiracy movement will be represented in the next Republican caucus.

But far from being shunned, Greene will instead be welcomed into the chamber by important and powerful groups of Republican colleagues who have expressed their support for her – and in some cases opened their wallets.

Greene’s nomination, out of a divided Republican primary and then a contentious runoff, was not without resistance from parts of her party. Top sitting Republican members of Congress endorsed Greene’s opponents. Until recently she also had a Democratic opponent, albeit a long shot who has now dropped out of the race.

Greene is one of the better known congressional candidates who follows the baseless QAnon movement – the set of conspiracy theories that argues, without evidence, that Donald Trump was put into the White House to fight a vast sex trafficking conspiracy run by a cabal of elites, Democrats and government officials.

QAnon believers say the satanic cabal engages in sex trafficking, pedophilia and cannibalism. Despite the bizarre unfounded claims of the movement, it has persisted. Even some elected officials have signaled support for the movement – or refused to denounce it. The FBI has warned that QAnon is a possible domestic terror threat.

Greene exemplifies the believer of the antisemitic, anti-Islamic and incendiary tropes expressed by QAnon supporters, although she has tried to distance herself from identifying with the movement.

But she has taped a video in which she says: “There’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it.”

Greene has argued that masks designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are “unhealthy for psychological, emotional, and educational growth” and that they are emasculating for boys.

She has also described the 2018 midterm elections – which marked a historically diverse class of freshman lawmakers – as “an Islamic invasion of our government”. She has argued against Muslims serving in government. She has compared to Black Lives Matter activists to the Ku Klux Klan. She has said: “the most mistreated group of people in the United States today are white males.” She has said that “George Soros and the Democrats are trying to take me down.” She has also said that “Zionist supremacists” are planning to flood Europe with immigrants to reduce white populations on the continent.

But none of that has halted Greene’s campaign. The heavy Republican lean of Georgia’s 14th congressional district, where Greene is running, virtually assures her path to Congress in January and, while some Republicans have warned about Congress opening its doors to someone who believes in the growing conspiracy theory, others have continued to boost Greene.

Greene has now been endorsed by members of the House Freedom Caucus, the small group of iconoclastic Republicans who at times clash with their party’s leadership. Jim Jordan, chairman of the HFC and a close Trump ally, donated $2,000 to Greene, according to Federal Election Commission findings. The Arizona congressman Andy Biggs, another member, donated $1,000. The House Freedom Fund, the political action committee arm of the HFC, donated thousands more as well.

Greene has also received donations from a Koch Brothers-aligned political action committee, and the political action committee for the National Association for Gun Rights, a conservative gun advocacy group.

Among the many candidates running for congressional seats this cycle, Greene sticks out for her rich history of associating with people pushing antisemitic tropes, and associating with conspiracy theorists and far-right figures and groups. Archives of her old website are filled with conspiratorial writings and QAnon ideology.

Greene, according to an extensive profile of her by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has also said that “henchmen” for Barack Obama and members of the MS-13 street gang murdered Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staff member conspiracy theorists believe leaked emails from the Clinton campaign to WikiLeaks. She has also said in a long YouTube video that she believes Obama “is a Muslim”. He is not.

Greene has also associated with Chris Hill, the leader of the Three Percent Security Force militia group, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

She has used other social media platforms to spread conspiracy theories and misinformation. On Facebook Greene has argued that the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, should be executed, according to CNN.

As she has run for Congress, Greene has continued to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to spread conspiracy theories and boost the far right. She regularly tweets support for Laura Loomer, who describes herself as a “proud Islamophobe”.

Some of Greene’s tweets have been removed from Twitter – recently, one was flagged for suggesting masks are not necessary during the pandemic. Twitter has had to flag multiple tweets by Greene. A spokesman declined to say how many of Greene’s tweets have been flagged or removed by the platform. Facebook recently removed an image of Greene holding a gun next to the trio of Democratic congresswomen known as “the Squad”.

Greene declined a request for an interview. Her campaign did not respond to follow-up questions.

The response among other Republicans has been mixed.

Members of Congress like the Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney, House minority whip Steve Scalise, Illinois congressman Adam Kinzinger and South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, have strongly warned about letting the QAnon movement spread through the government. Congressman Jody Hice withdrew his endorsement of her. At one point during the campaign, the GOP consulting firm WPA Intelligence was working with Greene, but has since cut ties with her. A bipartisan resolution was introduced in the House condemning QAnon. House majority whip Steve Scalise initially denounced Greene but has since signaled more openesss to her. He told CNN he would like to sit down with her soon.

Kinzinger said in an interview: “I think it really seeks to undermine representative democracy, and if you get to the point where you believe … if you start to think that all these decisions and everything is being thrust by a group that is really not accountable to your vote, such as satanist pedophiles, eventually it leads to people feeling disaffected, and that can lead to disintegration of democracies.

“You’ve seen it all around the world.”

But other top Republicans, such as Donald Trump and the House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, have welcomed Greene’s presence and the QAnon movement in American politics. Trump called Greene a “future Republican star”. McCarthy, through a spokesperson to CNN, said he looked forward to Greene and other Republicans winning in November. Separately, a McCarthy spokesperson denounced some of Greene’s past comments. The House Republican leader has also said he has had discussions with Greene and is convinced she does not believe QAnon conspiracies any more. Georgia senator Kelly Loeffler said she supports Greene. Other Republicans have said they have had positive conversations with her recently.

Other top Republicans are undeterred from associating with believers in the QAnon movement. Vice-President Mike Pence was slated to attend a fundraiser hosted by QAnon supporters, but that fundraiser was canceled. The Iowa senator Joni Ernst recently pushed a QAnon theory about the coronavirus.

So despite the opposition by some Republicans, Greene is poised to come into Congress with supporters and allies.

“The fake news media, the swamp, & the radical left all tried to stop me But they all failed,” Greene tweeted recently, going on to say she’s going to Congress to work with Trump and to “DRAIN THE SWAMP.”

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