In 2018, after the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), then a right-wing online commentator, spread the conspiracy theory that the massacre was a “false flag” event intended to take away people’s guns.
The comments, unearthed by Media Matters, are the latest in a long history of Greene repeating untrue claims by far-right extremists on social media.
After the Parkland shooting, which killed 17 people, Greene shared a story on Facebook about former Broward County sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson — who was fired over his response to the shooting — receiving a retirement pension. In the comments, someone wrote, “It’s called a pay off to keep his mouth shut since it was a false flag planned shooting.” Greene replied: “Exactly.”
Media Matters also uncovered separate comments from 2018 in which Greene made the false statement that Democrats, specifically House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), rooted for school shootings to justify stricter gun laws.
“This war on our Second Amendment is going to continue and must be fought. I am told that Nancy Pelosi tells Hillary Clinton several times a month that ‘we need another school shooting’ in order to persuade the public to want strict gun control,” Greene said.
Greene, elected in November, has also trafficked in the QAnon extremist ideology, as well as other falsehoods popular among the far right.
In response to the Media Matters report, Greene issued a lengthy statement criticizing gun-free schools, arguing that children should be protected by “good guys with guns.” She did not address the fact that she agreed with someone who said the Parkland shooting was a false flag or her accusation regarding Pelosi. She did refer to Peterson’s pension and said he “allowed 17 people to die” for not going into the school to stop the shooter.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), whose district includes Parkland, said in a statement that it’s “infuriating that someone like that was elected to Congress,” referring to Greene.
“Our community was devastated by the tragedy and doing anything other than expressing support for the families and survivors is insensitive, offensive, and shockingly inappropriate for a Member of Congress. It is especially dangerous when lies like these come from people in positions of power and influence,” he said.