A believer in a conspiracy theory the FBI classifies as a possible domestic terrorist threat is in a prime position to soon be elected to Congress, after coming in first in a Republican primary in Georgia on Tuesday.
QAnon conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has frequently posted messages about the bizarre pro-Trump conspiracy theory on social media, handily leads the primary field of Republicans in Georgia’s heavily Republican 14th District. Greene, who beat her closest opponent by more than 20 percentage points, will head to an August runoff after receiving 41 percent of the vote.
Greene is an outspoken supporter of QAnon, a conspiracy theory based on a series of anonymous messages posted online by a mystery figure named “Q.” QAnon believers think that Donald Trump is engaged in a shadowy war against a cabal of global elites, including the Democratic Party, and will soon arrest or even execute top Democrats in an event they know as “The Storm.”
Despite such ludicrous claims, Greene has praised QAnon. In a video posted online, she called the anonymous “Q” a “patriot” and said that their predictions had been accurate.
“Many of the things that he has given clues about and talked on 4Chan and other forums have really proven to be true,” Greene said.
Greene’s QAnon beliefs haven’t stopped her from winning the backing of at least one high-powered Republican. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio endorsed her bid, calling her “exactly the kind of fighter needed in Washington to stand with me against the radical left.” Greene has also been boosted by $44,000 in spending and $78,000 in earmarked contributions from the House Freedom Fund, a PAC tied to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, according to campaign-finance watchdog Open Secrets.
Because of her performance in the first round of the primary, Greene is heavily favored to win the nomination. Should she get more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary’s runoff, she would have an excellent shot of winning the general election for her House seat, which is now held by retiring Rep. Tom Graves, also a Republican. Her district in northwest Georgia is rated “R+27” by the Cook Political Report, meaning that the Democratic candidate faces a Herculean task to take the seat.
Greene did not respond for comment. Nor did the National Republican Congressional Committee, which supports GOP House candidates.
But her emergence as the party’s likely nominee will inevitably put the committee in a bind: forced to choose between supporting the will of their primary voters and being tagged with a candidate whose beliefs are on the deep fringe.
In a detail reminiscent of the Pizzagate conspiracy that inspired a shooting at a Washington, D.C. pizzeria, many QAnon fans are convinced that leading Democrats like Hillary Clinton and John Podesta are somehow engaged in sexual or cannibalistic torture of children. QAnon believers have been charged with two murders, a terrorist incident, and two child abduction plots related to their beliefs, among other crimes. The FBI considers QAnon a potential source of domestic terrorism.
Greene has also posted about QAnon on social media, tweeting QAnon catchphrases “Trust the plan” and “#GreatAwakening” and praising a QAnon clue as an “awesome post” in 2018.
While Greene seems poised to make history as the first Q believer in Congress, others have come close. Dozens of candidates this cycle have posted about the theory online. And in Oregon, the Republican Senate nominee, Jo Rae Perkins, is an open QAnon believer who thanked “Q” when she won the nomination to run in November against Sen. Jeff Merkley (D). After Perkins’ campaign tried to claim their candidate didn’t believe in the conspiracy theory, Perkins insisted she was a QAnon believer, saying she was “literally physically in tears” by the attempt to distance her from QAnon. Perkins, who is running in a heavily Democratic state, stands little chance of winning in the general election.
Greene’s wild worldviews don’t stop at QAnon. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, she rose to prominence on the right after recording a series of videos in which she confronted various liberals reviled by Trump supporters. In one popular video, Greene visited the congressional office of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and repeated an unproven claim that Omar illegally married her own brother. She may soon be able to just walk down the halls to confront Omar rather than tote a videocamera with her to the Capitol.
In another video, Greene pursued Parkland shooting survivor and gun-control advocate David Hogg in the street outside in Washington, saying in her video that Hogg is a “coward” with “George Soros funding.”
Greene earned headlines and social-media attention last week with a campaign ad in which she wielded an AR-15 rifle and warned left-wing antifascist “antifa” demonstrators to “stay the hell out of northwest Georgia.”
“You won’t burn our churches, loot our businesses, or destroy our homes,” Greene said in the ad.
Facebook pulled the ad, citing the site’s rules against promoting firearm use against a particular group of people. For conservatives, Greene’s ad became the latest proof that social-media companies are biased against her and earned her an appearance on early-morning Fox News show Fox & Friends First, where she accused Facebook of “defending terrorists.”
Greene has also promoted conspiracy theories about the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, proposing in social-media posts that the shooting was staged or somehow covered up by the FBI to promote gun control.
“Is that why the country music festival was targeted, because those would be the people that we would relate to?” Greene said in one video, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Are they trying to terrorize our mindset and change our minds on the Second Amendment? Is that what’s going on here?”
Her devotion to gun rights is, perhaps, her most notable policy position. Among the laws Greene has railed against are those that include the prohibition of guns in schools.