Republican who supported QAnon elected to Congress

At least one candidate who has expressed support for cult-like conspiracy will join the House of Representatives in 2021

Alex Woodward
New York
Wednesday 04 November 2020 02:57 GMT
Trump praises 'fantastic' Marjorie Taylor Greene at rally a day after praising QAnon at town hall
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Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has expressed support for the far-right online-driven ideology and conspiracy theory QAnon, has been elected to Congress, after her challenger left the race a month before Election Day.

The Georgia Republican – who has pledged to “kick that b****” Nancy Pelosi out of Congress and posed next to images of progressive Democratic congresswomen with a rifle – is set to enter the US House of Representatives in Washington DC to represent the state's 14th district.

Donald Trump won the district in 2016 with 75 per cent of the vote.

“THANK YOU to the people of NW Georgia for choosing me to fight for them in Washington, DC!” she said on Twitter following her win on Tuesday.

Her long-shot opponent, Democratic candidate Kevin Van Ausdal, left the race in September after he was forced to move from the house he shared with his wife as part of a divorce.

His name remained on the ballot after Georgia’s secretary of state refused to disqualify him from the race, forcing Democrats to campaign without a replacement against Ms Greene.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A Greenblatt said the organisation was "dismayed" by her election to the House.

"Congress must ensure that QAnon is blocked from any Congressional leadership position," he said in a statement.

Ms Greene was among the most prominent of several Republican candidates with QAnon ties vying for a seat in Congress in 2020 elections, as the conspiracy theory – following its “pizzagate” predecessor – flourished under the president’s first term.

Though she has since distanced herself from QAnon, she has posted several QAnon-related messages and memes across social media over the last several years, including a video in which she calls “Q” – an anonymous figure who posts cryptic messages on sites like 4chan – a “patriot” who is “worth listening to.”

In her primary victory speech in August, she said called House Speaker Pelosi “anti-American” and said, “We’re going to kick that b**** out of Congress.”

The following month, she posted a photo on Facebook showing her posing with a rifle next to photos of congresswomen Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with the words “squad’s worst nightmare.” The post was shared hundreds of times before it was removed.

The president – who congratulated her primary campaign victory –  invited her to his White House renomination ceremony during the Republican National Convention.

He called her a “future Republican star.”

After her win in August, she told Fox News that QAnon “doesn’t represent” her.

"I was just one of those people, just like millions of other Americans, that just started looking at other information," she told the network. "And so, yeah, there was a time there for a while that I had read about Q, posted about it, talked about it, which is some of these videos you've seen come out. But once I started finding misinformation, I decided that I would choose another path."

She also has received campaign trail support from Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler, running for re-election in the state.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy – whose caucus will be joined in 2021 by at least one person who has expressed support for QAnon – told Fox News in August that “there is no place for QAnon in the Republican party.” But he told C-SPAN in August that if Ms Greene is elected, “she’ll be given an opportunity."

Roughly 20 per cent of the president’s supporters follow the cult-like conspiracy, according to extensive polling from UK-based non-profit Hope Not Hate.

Those findings suggest a statistically strong voting bloc that the report links to the president’s reluctance to denounce the movement, which the president and his sons, along with other prominent allies, have promoted.

The report found that roughly one in 10 Americans are engaged with QAnon beliefs, with 4.6 per cent of respondents explicitly identifying as “strong supporters” and 5.4 per cent as “soft supporters”.

A third of Americans surveyed believe that “elites in Hollywood, government, the media and other powerful positions are secretly engaging in large-scale child trafficking and abuse,” while 19 per cent of respondents believe the Covid-19 crisis was engineered as part of “depopulation" plan orchestrated by the United Nations or a “New World Order” and 15 per cent believe a vaccine will be “used maliciously to infect people with poison."

Those theories are all embedded in QAnon beliefs, which have threaded a smattering of conspiracies that have thrived online for years.

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