Then she won, and Republicans tried to put a good face on it — even falsely claiming she had disavowed QAnon and suggesting the country should move on.
That posture is looking increasingly untenable.
Now that Greene is in Congress, the situation has spun further out of control for the GOP, with a steady stream of revelations about her extreme views and advocacy for fringe causes and baseless claims. That stream combined with Greene’s puzzling defense of herself should make Republicans wonder how long they can put up with this.
Tuesday’s revelation is particularly pertinent — and ugly. CNN’s KFile reported that Greene’s Facebook feed featured several endorsements of violence against Democrats and federal agents. In one case, she liked a comment that said “a bullet to the head would be quicker” than removing Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) from her speakership. She also liked a comment about Pelosi that said “through removal or death, doesn’t matter, as long as she goes.” She responded to another commenter who suggested hanging former president Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton by saying: “Stage is being set. Players are being put in place. We must be patient. This must be done perfectly or liberal judges would let them off.” She also liked comments suggesting execution for FBI agents who were viewed as working with the “deep state” against then-President Donald Trump.
Greene’s comments on these matters come to light just three weeks after Trump supporters, including many QAnon subscribers, stormed the U.S. Capitol. Some indicated they intended to harm lawmakers, with chants of “Hang Mike Pence” for Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to take extraordinary action to overturn the 2020 election results. In other words, we have evidence that a member of Congress promoted the kind of extremism and even bloodlust that led to an attempted insurrection at the Capitol.
The development comes on top of many others, including:
- Supporting the false QAnon claims that hold there is a global pedophile cabal involving top U.S. political figures.
- In another Facebook post revealed this week, promoting the false “Frazzledrip” claim about Clinton and a top aide, Huma Abedin, supposedly engaging in a satanic ritual involving the murder and mutilation of a child.
- Liking a comment suggesting the 2018 massacre of students in Parkland, Fla., was a “false flag” and calling a student gun-control activist who attended the school “little Hitler”
- Claiming much the same thing about the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Greene responded to a user who said it was a “STAGGED [sic] SHOOTING” by saying, “That’s all true.”
- Baselessly claiming Pelosi cited the need for monthly school shootings to pass gun legislation.
- Suggesting another mass shooting, in Las Vegas, was part of a plot to abolish the Second Amendment.
- Saying the 2018 midterms, in which Democrats won the House, represented “an Islamic invasion of our government.”
- Comparing Black Lives Matter activists to neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
- Claiming George Soros, a Holocaust survivor, collaborated with Nazis.
Confronted with that final one last year, a Greene spokesman was unapologetic. “Thank[s] for the reminder about Soros. We forgot to put him in our newest ad. We’re fixing that now,” he told Politico.
The responses to the latest revelations are arguably worse. Greene suggested the comments weren’t actually from her, saying she had “teams” of people who managed her Facebook account. She also suggested the revelations aren’t pertinent because they came before she ran for Congress.
The latter is particularly bad. The newly revealed comments are from 2018 and 2019 — not exactly decades or even several years ago. She is a 46-year-old woman essentially arguing that comments she made when she was 44 don’t reflect upon her today or aren’t relevant. Has she really evolved that much in two years?
As for the idea that this wasn’t actually her: Did she really have “teams” of people working on her social media accounts when she was a private citizen? That would make sense as a candidate for Congress, but it seems a puzzling thing for someone in private life to delegate people not just to manage your accounts but also to post such incendiary things.
What’s more, the comments are in keeping with everything we have come to learn about Greene. She has spoken publicly on video, for example, about the possibility of Democrats including Pelosi being executed for treason. And even after the revelations on Tuesday, she responded to criticism from Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.) by calling him a “heretic,” a crime for which many societies have used the death penalty.
Given all of that, even if Republicans think this will pass, they need to ask themselves how much more there is to come. This is clearly someone who has engaged in some of the ugliest political rhetoric that exists in modern discourse, often explicitly endorsing it.
McCarthy’s office told Axios that the comments are “deeply disturbing” and said he “plans to have a conversation with the Congresswoman about them.” At some point, Republicans need to ask themselves whether such conversations and tough words are enough — especially considering how little remorse Greene has demonstrated.
Among the options for GOP leadership: more explicitly disowning Greene and her brand of politics, as GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) did. They could also take formal actions up to and including censure (a symbolic one) or expulsion from committees or Congress as a whole. The GOP has kicked several members off committees in recent years, including now-former congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) for his comments about white supremacy.
We tend to overestimate how much a politician like that can drag down their national party, but Greene’s lack of remorse and candor reinforces how much of a loose cannon she could be moving forward.