Just a few months after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary got called out by the Associated Press for “abusive behavior” toward a reporter, she’s at it again—but this time with a notorious antisemitic conspiracy theory.
Amid a flurry of tweets mocking pandemic-related restrictions, Christina Pushaw singled out the Republic of Georgia for its new policy requiring citizens to hold a “Green Pass” in order to enter public establishments like restaurants and theaters to try to contain the coronavirus pandemic. (The passes do not require that one be vaccinated; those who have recovered from the virus and can provide proof of a negative COVID test can also use the passes.)
While the system largely resembles similar measures put in place worldwide, Pushaw appeared to employ some deeply revolting (and flawed) logic to suggest the system is part of a nefarious Jewish plot.
“Georgia decided to enact a ‘Green Pass’ system (biomedical security state). Immediately after that, the Rothschilds show up to discuss the attractive investment environment in Georgia (lol). No weird conspiracy theory stuff here!” she wrote Tuesday.
Pushaw attached a screenshot of a tweet from the Government of Georgia as supposed evidence of the Rothschild family having their hand in the country’s COVID response. The tweet said that the Georgian prime minister had, in fact, met with the managing director of Rothschild & Co.—but that meeting was way back in June.
The Rothschilds have long been used as a kind of antisemitic boogeyman to fearmonger about Jewish families secretly controlling the world and global banking. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) put forth perhaps the most batshit conspiracy theory ever when she argued in a now-infamous 2018 Facebook post that “lasers” in space owned by the Rothschilds might be to blame for California’s deadly forest fires.
“The belief that the Rothschilds manipulate currency and influence global events for personal enrichment and world domination is a staple of antisemitic conspiracy theorists,” the ADL Florida said in a statement after Pushaw’s comments. “It’s deeply disturbing to see these kinds of conspiracies promoted by a member of @GovRonDeSantis’ staff.”
As Pushaw’s tweet was met with mounting outrage Wednesday, she said the comment was really “an attempt at sarcasm that could have been misinterpreted.”
“‘The Rothschilds’ feature prominently in conspiracy theories, and I felt that the government of Georgia—like other governments—is intentionally feeding existing conspiracy theories around vaccine passports so that they can dismiss anyone who opposes vaccines passports as a ‘conspiracy theorist,’” she told The Daily Beast.
It was not immediately clear how the Georgian government’s “Green Pass” initiative is “feeding existing conspiracy theories.” Pushaw deleted the tweet in question after being asked to clarify it, though she told The Daily Beast she took it down when she realized “how it could be perceived,” insisting that she is “completely opposed to anti Semitism and would never want to inadvertently fuel anti Semitic tropes.”
After being asked about the tweet, Pushaw also preemptively warned her followers of an imminent “hit piece” against her, tweeting out this reporter’s author profile.
This is not the first time Pushaw has raised eyebrows on Twitter. In late August, the platform temporarily suspended her account after the Associated Press called her out for “harassing behavior” against a reporter.