Updated: November 5, 2020 9:52:29 am
Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican businesswoman who has courted controversy for publicly endorsing the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory and repeatedly expressing racist views, won a US House seat representing Northwest Georgia on Wednesday.
Greene won from Georgia’s 14th congressional district, where she ran unopposed after her Democratic opponent Kevin Van Ausdal dropped out of the race in September, according to the Associated Press.
US President Donald Trump has previously praised Greene, a political newcomer, and has even called her a “future Republican star”. Trump himself has repeatedly refused to denounce the since-debunked QAnon theory, which suggests that the US President is secretly fighting a highly-placed child sex-trafficking ring.
Who is Marjorie Taylor Greene? What is her connection to the QAnon theory?
Greene co-owns a commercial construction and renovation company with her husband in Georgia. Earlier this year, the 46-year-old drew national attention when she openly touted the outlandish QAnon conspiracy theory multiple times, and even called ‘Q’, the leader of the movement, a “patriot”.
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“Q is a patriot. He is someone that very much loves his country, and he’s on the same page as us, and he is very pro-Trump,” she was heard saying in a 2017 YouTube video, which has since been made private, according to the Washington Post.
“I’m very excited about that now there’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it,” she added in the same video.
But after she was criticised by several Republican leaders for elevating the warped theory during her primary race against fellow Republican candidate and neurosurgeon John Cowan, Greene distanced herself from QAnon conspiracy, without explicitly denouncing it.
However this seemed to have little impact on her campaign as she cruised to victory in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District on Wednesday, securing over 150,000 more votes than her Democratic contender IT specialist Kevin Van Ausdal. Ausdal, who faced widespread threats and harassment in the conservative district, withdrew from the race citing “personal and family reasons” in September.
Greene will soon be replacing Republican Tom Graves, who resigned on October 4.
Greene was widely criticised yet again in June, when Politico uncovered hours worth of old videos where she is heard expressing Islamophobic, racist and anti-semitic sentiments. She is known to have once suggested that Muslims do not belong in government, has called Black voters “slaves” to the Democratic Party and has even referred to a Jewish Democratic megadonor and holocaust survivor as a Nazi.
What is the QAnon conspiracy theory?
The theory first began to spread in 2017 when an anonymous user called ‘Q’ or ‘Q Clearance Patriot’ started posting conspiracy theories online. ‘Q’, who claimed to be a top-ranking government insider with access to sensitive information on the Trump administration, first posted on internet message boards like 4chan and 8kun, a website that is run by the founders of 8chan (which was shut down after the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas in 2019 — the killers had posted hate content on 8chan).
According to QAnon followers, President Trump is secretly battling elite Satan-worshipping paedophiles, who occupy the upper echelons of the government, business and the media. They believe that the fight will ultimately lead to a day of reckoning called ‘The Storm’, where prominent people like former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be executed.
The theory claims that top Democratic leaders like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as Hollywood actors like Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey are part of a global underground child sex-trafficking ring. This draws from the long-debunked ‘Pizzagate’ theory, which was proposed by far-right activists and suggests that Clinton, who contested against Trump, was running a child trafficking racket from the basement of a pizza parlour in Washington, DC.
Who are the other Republican leaders who support QAnon?
Greene is not the only member of the Republican Party who has voiced her support for QAnon. At least 19 other House Republican candidates who have also supported and shared QAnon content are appearing on the ballot this election, according to data by Media Matters. These include Shiva Ayyadura in Massachusetts, Josh Barnett in Arizona, Joyce Bentley in Nevada, and Lauren Boebert in Colorado.
What has Trump said about QAnon?
At an NBC News Town Hall in Miami last month, Trump denied knowing about QAnon. However, he has previously been known to retweet posts from accounts that share QAnon-related content. Critics have also noted Trump’s failure to denounce the movement and that he has said it is “very strongly against paedophilia”.
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