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Who is the Republican extremist Marjorie Taylor Greene?

The congresswoman represents an ascending far-right movement within the Republican ranks that carries the banner of Trump’s grievance politics Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks outside the US Capitol in Washington DC on 5 February. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images Awaiting punishment for her lengthy history of extreme and violent commentary on Thursday, Marjorie Taylor Greene rose to introduce herself to the Congress. Wearing a mask embroidered with the words “FREE SPEECH”, the freshman congresswoman from Georgia regretted that she had not yet had a chance to tell her House colleagues “who I am and what I’m about”. Over the next eight minutes, Greene sought to untangle herself from the litany of dangerous and unfounded conspiracy theories that she had peddled on social media in recent years – “words of the past” that did not represent her. Greene renounced her embrace of QAnon, an ideology the FBI has called a potential domestic terrorism threat. She said school shootings in Parkland and Sandy Hook were “absolutely real”, and not so-called “false flag” events designed to build support for gun control laws, as she once suggested. “I also want to tell you 9/11 absolutely happened,” she declared, somewhat sheepishly, after previously questioning whether a plane really flew into the Pentagon. Despite a show of contrition, however, she offered no explicit apology. Instead, a defiant Greene warned that those seeking to “condemn me and crucify me in the public square for words that I said and I regret” were wading into dangerous political territory that would haunt them should Republicans reclaim the majority. She remained in the chamber for the debate, as her colleagues litigated her past – and sought to tie it to her party’s future. “The party of Lincoln, the party of Eisenhower, the party of Reagan is becoming the party of Marjorie Taylor Greene and the party of violent conspiracy theories,” the House rules committee chairman, Jim McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said in a floor speech. Hours later, the House rendered its verdict, stripping Greene of her committee assignments in an extraordinary rebuke of the first-term lawmaker who Donald Trump once praised as a “future Republican star”. Yet Greene’s exile – over the objection of all but 11 House Republicans – has only exacerbated the growing chasm within the party, between an emboldened extremist movement that flourished under Trump’s presidency and an increasingly isolated group of conservatives who want to move beyond the divide-and-conquer politics of the last four years. As pressure built on Republicans to discipline Greene, Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, called her “looney lies” a “cancer” to the party and the nation. The House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, also condemned Greene’s statements, but ultimately declined to take any punitive action, arguing that she should not be punished for remarks made before she was elected. In those social media posts and videos, only some of which she disavowed and many of which came to light before she was elected, Greene indicated support for executing top Democrats, including the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi; claimed that Muslims should not be allowed to serve in government; and compared Black Lives Matter activists to neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. She also trafficked in a slew of conspiracy theories, many of which are rooted in antisemitism, Islamophobia and white nationalism. Most notably, she embraced QAnon, a conspiracy that claims Trump is trying to save the world from a shadowy cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles. In posts unearthed recently, Greene wrote in 2018 that a devastating California wildfire was caused by a Jewish-controlled “laser” beamed from space.f In another video, she accosts the gun-control activist David Hogg, who survived the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, as he walked down a street in Washington. He was there to lobby lawmakers in support of passing gun safety measures, while she was there to oppose them. “He’s a coward,” she said of Hogg. Greene represents an ascending far-right movement within the Republican ranks that carries the banner of Trump’s grievance politics – and the support of his loyal supporters who are now critical to the party’s future. “We’re thankful for her,” said Dianne Putnam, chair of the Whitfield county Republican party, which is situated in Greene’s district. “We’ve been waiting to have a congressman [sic] that would take a stand for conservative causes and be a voice for us that we felt we’ve never had.” In her telling, Greene was not particularly political before 2016, when she was galvanized by the billionaire’s “plain talk”. She became increasingly political – and radical. In 2017, disenchanted with mainstream news coverage of Trump’s presidency, she turned to online message boards where she discovered QAnon, at the time a fringe internet subculture. She began writing for a now defunct conspiracy blog called American Truth Seekers, publishing articles that expressed support for QAnon and other outrageous theories, among them that Hillary Clinton was behind John F Kennedy Jr’s 1999 death in an airplane crash. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Donald Trump at a campaign rally for Georgia Republicans in Dalton on 4 January. Photograph: Brynn Anderson/AP Greene told the House on Thursday that she “walked away” from QAnon in 2018 after discovering “misinformation, lies, things that were not true”. But as recently as late last year, she spoke openly and favorably of the movement. In 2019, Greene decided to run for Congress. She initially launched a campaign in the district where she lived, a competitive seat in suburban Atlanta held by the Democratic congresswoman Lucy McBath. But when the Republican congressman Tom Graves announced his retirement, she switched to run in Georgia’s 14th congressional district, a deep-red corner of the state that borders Tennessee to the north and Alabama to the west. Running on a “pro-Life, pro-Gun, pro-Trump” platform, the political novice cast herself as a deeply Christian mother of three who was the first in her family to graduate from college. She touted her success as a businesswoman, running a commercial construction company founded by her father, and later, a CrossFit gym. After placing first in a crowded primary field, Greene advanced to a runoff against John Cowan, a neurosurgeon who pitched himself as equally conservative and pro-Trump minus the “circus act”. “She is not conservative – she’s crazy,” he told Politico ahead of the election, adding: “She deserves a YouTube channel, not a seat in Congress.” Though her messaging raised concern among some national Republicans, there was never a concerted strategy to defeat her. A handful of party leaders and conservative groups intervened to endorse Cowan, but many remained neutral. She earned crucial support from the members of the arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus, including Jim Jordan, the group’s founder, and Andy Biggs, its chairman. Greene won the runoff with nearly 60% of the vote, and coasted to victory in November. Since her arrival in Congress, she has continued to build on her brand as a far-right provocateur. Sporting masks that said “Stop the Steal”, Greene was a vocal proponent of the baseless claim that Trump won the presidential election, and was among a handful of conservatives who met with him at the White House to discuss overturning the election results. Greene referred to 6 January, the day Congress was set to formalize the election results, as Republicans’ “1776 moment” before a rally to defend the president turned into a deadly riot on Capitol Hill. Even after the assault, she continued to claim Trump would remain in office and decried his impeachment. Days later, she announced that she would file articles of impeachment against Joe Biden – before he was even sworn into office. Far from being a fringe figure, Greene represents the “tip of the spear” of a radical movement that is building power within the Republican party, said Adele Stan, director of Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way. In Congress, she is joined by Lauren Boebert, a freshman Republican from Colorado who has also expressed support for QAnon conspiracy theories. Across the country, local parties and elected officials are rushing to embrace – rather than confront – the swirl of toxic conspiracy theories and disinformation coursing through their grassroots. By failing to unilaterally punish Greene, Stan said Republicans were giving “passive affirmation” to the ideology promulgated by the web of far-right and white nationalist groups who organized and led the deadly siege at the Capitol on 6 January. “If you don’t hold people accountable, then things will continue to spiral out of control, which is what we’re seeing happen in the Republican party right now – and why there was an insurrection at the Capitol,” she said. “People need to be held accountable for what they say.” Banished from her committees by House Democrats and 11 Republicans after just a month in Congress, Greene said she felt liberated. At a news conference on Friday, Greene said she would use her political sway and social-media savvy to grow the pro-Trump movement and push Republicans further to the right. “I woke up early this morning literally laughing thinking about what a bunch of morons the Democrats (+11) are for giving some one like me free time,” Greene wrote on Twitter. “Oh, this is going to be fun!”

About the author

Christine Watkins

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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