Marjorie Taylor Greene
Andrew Buncombe, The Independent
What can you really say about Marjorie Taylor Greene? For those new to this story, Greene is the 46-year-old conservative who in November was elected to represent Georgia’s 14th congressional district, which covers a chunk of territory in the state’s northwest.
You may have heard she loves Donald Trump, opposes abortion, is a staunch advocate of gun rights – and, after being elected last year, said it was her intention to keep “pulling the party to the right”.
She also supports various conspiracy theories believed by many on the right; chief among them what has become known as QAnon, the apparently genuinely held belief that Democrats in Washington DC are overseeing a vast pedophile ring and that Trump alone is fighting them.
It might be tempting to write Greene off as just another crank, the kind who appears in the American polity with some frequency. (If you gathered the names of American politicians who had denied the existence of climate change these past recent years even as the ice sheets melted, you would have a very long list.)
But this is much more serious. In the aftermath of the riot at the US Capitol incited by Trump, in which five people lost their lives, Greene and Lauren Boebert of Colorado — another new arrival to the House of Representatives — described it as a “1776 moment”.
Now, CNN has revealed that an examination of Greene’s Facebook page has shown her indicating support in 2018 and 2019 toward the idea of executing prominent Democrats.
The network found that in January 2019, she “liked” a comment that said “a bullet to the head would be quicker” to remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Elsewhere, she liked comments about executing FBI agents who she said were part of the “deep state” and working against Trump.
Greene issued a statement suggesting people other than her had access to her social media accounts. “Over the years, I’ve had teams of people manage my pages,” she wrote.
She added that Facebook posts from “random users” were being used “to try and cancel me and silence my voice”. (When a reporter from The Independent sought comment, they were told: “No foreign media. Thanks!”)
The US is going through tense and difficult times. More than 426,000 people have lost their lives to the coronavirus, and millions have lost their jobs. Millions also believe Trump’s false claim that the election was rigged and that he, not Biden, is the rightful winner.
Some are so convinced of this, and so furious about it, that they were ready to risk losing their lives by storming the US legislature as a joint session of Congress voted to ratify Biden’s Electoral College victory.
The Republican leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, has said he was concerned to hear of Greene’s Facebook posts.
Some have suggested Greene’s comments may represent a “line too far” similar to the one that eventually brought about the downfall of Republican Iowa congressman Steve King, who was stripped of his committee responsibilities in 2019 after publicly asking why terms such as “white nationalism” and “white supremacy” were now considered “offensive”. He lost his bid for a tenth term the following year to a Republican primary challenger.
Yet is it good enough simply for McCarthy to “have a conversation” with Greene? And what good will it do? His own position already seems uncertain as the GOP prepares itself for a battle over the future of the party in the aftermath of Trump’s defeat.
The real problem is much deeper, and much harder to tackle.
Misinformation and conspiracies have been allowed to fester for decades in a media environment that lacks any real checks and balances, or requirement to adhere to the truth.
Donald Trump played that very deftly to his advantage – as has Marjorie Taylor Greene.
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