For Trump, Putin and conspiracy theories: all about Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ukraine’s critic in US Congress

Monday, 22 April 2024 — Oleh Pavliuk, European Pravda
Photo AFP/East News

Even if you don't follow US politics closely and don't know the names of American Congressmen, you could hardly have missed hearing about Marjorie Taylor Greene – or at least her initiatives regarding Ukraine – over the past week.

The American Congresswoman put forward a series of the most abhorrent (and, let's be honest, idiotic) amendments to the Ukraine aid bill. She proposed, for example, that any member of the House of Representatives who voted for the Ukraine aid bill should be required to conscript into the Ukrainian military. "If you want to fund endless foreign wars, you should have to go fight them," the lawmaker explained.

Another of Greene's amendments would have obligated the Ukrainian government to "shut down all its biolabs" before it could receive US military aid. The myth of the "secret American biolabs" in Ukraine that allegedly produce biological weapons to help counter the pressure from the Russian army is one of the most ludicrous fakes that Russian propaganda has come up with. As we can see, though, it has gone beyond Russian TV viewers to reach the US Congress as well.

Faced with such absurdity, it’s important to avoid the false impression that this is just "Congressional madness" that should not be taken too seriously.


Unfortunately, Greene's influence in Congress is far from negligible.

That’s partly because she is one of Donald Trump's most loyal supporters and enjoys his respect.

Suffice it to recall another of her amendments that, though equally ridiculous, was nevertheless put to the vote. It proposed to pass the financial aid bill but reduce every dollar amount in it to zero. Although rejected, this amendment still garnered 70 votes – nearly a third of the Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Even Greene's opponents understand her significance (despite the absurdity of many of the things she does). Even Joe Biden refers to her as a symbol of the Trumpists in a pre-election video.

So it's worth understanding where she came from, and what her views and real influence are.

Belief in Trump

Until 2018, even experts in US politics knew nothing about Marjorie Taylor Greene. She wasn't a politician. By her own admission, she didn't even vote.

Marjorie Taylor was born in 1974 in Milledgeville, a city in Georgia with a population of just over 17,000. She moved to the exurbs of Atlanta as a child when her father founded a general-contracting company, Taylor Commercial. She met her future husband Perry Greene at the University of Georgia. The couple got married while in college in 1995. Initially, they helped Taylor's father with the business, then bought out his company.

Greene also opened her own business for a short time, a network of CrossFit gyms. This was a passion of hers in the early 2010s, with Greene even competing at national level.

During her CrossFit period, in 2012, Greene decided to file for divorce – due to her own extramarital affairs, she says – but she withdrew the petition. (Ten years on, by which time she had been elected to Congress, the couple did divorce. They have three children together.)

But what led Greene to politics, which she had openly despised before?

The inspirational person who changed Greene's views was Donald Trump.

"To me, he was someone I could relate to, someone that I enjoyed his plain talk, not the offensive things, but just the way he talked normally. And I thought, ‘Finally, maybe this is someone that will do something about the things that deeply bother me’," the congresswoman recounted in 2021. Among her concerns were the rising US national debt, inadequate border protection, American military involvement in foreign operations, and what Greene says is the federal government’s "refusal" to protect American businesses.

In October 2016, Greene made her first donation to a political campaign – Donald Trump's. But even then, the businesswoman didn't make it to a polling station.

MTG's conspiracy theories

Trump's first campaign was when Greene first tried to figure out politics. Since she didn't trust traditional media outlets (even conservative ones), she started googling.

"And I stumbled across something – and this was at the end of 2017 – called Anon," the Republican recounted. She's referring to QAnon, a conspiracy theory that emerged during Trump's election campaign.

The QAnon theory goes like this: the United States and the world are controlled by a group of Satanists whose main goal is to prevent Trump from becoming president. This elite group includes Democrats, led by Hillary Clinton, who allegedly run a secret network involving child sex traffickers at a Washington, DC pizzeria (we know this doesn't make sense), but if Trump becomes president, he will defeat the elite and overthrow the Satanists and the "deep state". And I’m not making this up. Many people have actually believed in this theory, leading to attacks on pizzerias by well-meaning Christians trying to save the world. QAnon apologists also played a significant role in the 2021 Capitol riot.

Back in 2016, Greene discovered and joined various conspiracy theorists’ online communities. The following year, she published nearly sixty posts on the now-blocked website American Truth Seekers. In addition to supporting QAnon, Greene argued that Hillary Clinton murdered her political opponents (Trump apparently survived) and that school shootings were all staged in order to have the Second Amendment (on the right to bear arms) revoked. Journalists also found racism in Greene's posts, and calls for the then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to be executed.

The most interesting episode was in 2022 when Greene accused Pelosi of creating... "gazpacho police".

Nothing to do with cold tomato soup – Greene had simply confused the name with the Gestapo.

She has also promoted the theory (though this was before her election to Congress) that the 2018 California wildfires were caused by a space laser funded by the Rothschilds. 

Although Greene later renounced some of the conspiracy theories and apologised for her controversial and incorrect views and support for QAnon as soon as she was elected, she did make another reference to "Democrat paedophiles" last year.

How Greene ended up in politics

In mid-2019, when Marjorie Taylor Greene – inspired by Donald Trump's politics – announced her intention to run for Congress, few took her seriously.

Her move was prompted by a trip to Washington in March 2019 to attend public hearings on gun control. Greene went there to "defend the Second Amendment" as a gun owner, but she was ignored by lawmakers – unlike 18-year-old David Hogg, who survived a shooting at his high school and became an advocate for gun control.

Back home again, she made a decision: if she were elected to Congress, she could no longer be ignored.

Greene was advised to run for Georgia's northwest, where the electorate is predominantly conservative. Victory for the Republican candidate was guaranteed. All she had to do was to win the primaries. Congressman Tom Graves, who had been elected from this district five times in a row, announced a year before the elections that he was retiring from politics.

The conspiracy theories Greene believed in became her trump card.

In the primaries she faced neurosurgeon John Cowan, who was appalled by the absurdity of Greene's speeches, calling her "a circus act" and "crazy". Greene ran a flamboyant months-long campaign that caught America's attention because of her open defence of QAnon and other conspiracy theories. She was photographed with a Ku Klux Klan leader and posted a video (later deleted) on Facebook of herself holding an assault rifle and telling left-wing activists to "stay the hell out of northwest Georgia".

No leading mainstream Republicans backed Greene in these primaries – but she had the support of Trump himself. She convincingly defeated Cowan and won the election.

Марджорі Тейлор Грін у Конгресі, січень 2021 року
Marjorie Taylor Greene in Congress, January 2021
Photo Abaca/East News

In January 2021, just days before the Capitol was stormed by pro-Trump rioters, Greene attended the first session of the newly elected House wearing a black face mask that read "TRUMP WON".

Although Trump lost the presidential election to Joe Biden, he refused to acknowledge his defeat, which ultimately led to an attempted coup in the United States.

The events of 6 January 2021, Greene wrote, "utterly shocked" her. But it is not known whether she was being sincere when she said this, or later when she said – apparently joking – that if she had led the storming, "we would have won".

Greene herself describes her political views as "Christian nationalist" – a mixture of classic Republican right-wing conservatism (tax cuts and reduced government spending, abortion bans) and overt populism (closing the borders for four years or setting up a "Christian" administration, which incidentally would be a direct breach of the First Amendment).

As far as her legislative work in the House of Representatives is concerned, in her first year Greene was remembered more for being removed from Congressional committees for making controversial remarks, quarrelling with colleagues regardless of their party affiliation, and blocking bills.

Influential and anti-Ukrainian

However, Marjorie Taylor Greene's influence cannot be denied. Her controversial statements have gained her extensive media coverage and made her very popular among a certain section of the Republican electorate: she was among the top fundraisers for future campaigns. Her communication style and views ensure she remains popular in her district in Georgia, and she was easily reelected to Congress in 2022.

Kevin McCarthy, then the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, made contact with Greene ahead of the 2022 elections. She rewarded him with her support at the Speaker election, despite objections from some of the most radical Freedom Caucus members. Once McCarthy had taken over the House, he gave Greene seats on two important committees – Oversight and Homeland Security – ending her political isolation.

The Congresswoman now has more opportunities to influence lawmaking, although she still prefers to shock.

Greene's views on the war in Ukraine have been consistently anti-Ukrainian.

A week after the full-scale invasion, Greene appeared at the same event as a white nationalist who had urged the audience to chant "Putin!" just before she spoke.

In late March, she called on the United States to demand that Zelenskyy "stop his military from torturing innocent people" and not to give money to "possible Nazi militias". She has accused Ukraine of "provoking" the invasion, and more. In her opinion, Ukraine wouldn't exist if it weren't for the "Obama State Department".

During a visit to Congress by wounded Ukrainian soldiers in November 2022, Greene described them as "pawns" being used to pressure American lawmakers to "give hard-earned American tax dollars to Zelenskyy". She later spread Russian fake news in Congress about Zelenskyy allegedly buying two yachts with American money. And now, in April 2024, Marjorie Taylor Greene is claiming that Ukraine is waging a "war on Christianity", "attacking Christians" and "executing priests", while Russia, in her opinion, "seems to be protecting" Christians from Ukrainians.

Greene’s views have made her a favourite of Russian propagandists. Of course, her opponents don’t stay silent. The fake news spread by Greene is refuted by American media, but those refutations don’t reach everybody, especially given that her fans tend to be suspicious of traditional media.

Members of Congress miss no opportunity to criticise Greene for her pro-Russian stance. Even her fellow party members sometimes lose patience. Republican Ken Buck, who resigned from the House of Representatives a few days ago, did not mince his words when he dubbed Greene "Moscow Marjorie", who is focused on "getting her talking points from the Kremlin and making sure that she is popular, and she is getting a lot of coverage". The conservative tabloid The New York Post (formerly Trump's favourite newspaper) picked up this nickname, putting Greene in a Russian fur ushanka hat with the caption "Nyet, Moscow Marjorie". And Fox News has published a column calling her an "idiot" who harms the Republican Party.

But Greene's rhetoric on Ukraine and Russia is not limited to a single outrageous conspiracy theorist from Georgia. And the vote on aid to Ukraine, which split the Republican parliamentary group in two, vividly confirmed this.

"Russian propaganda has made its way into the United States, unfortunately, and it’s infected a good chunk of my party's base," Republican Michael McCaul, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, recently said in an interview. And he’s not the only one who believes that the Kremlin has long been conducting a targeted campaign to convince Americans not to support Ukraine, with some success.

The question is how long-lasting and destructive this Kremlin influence is, both in Congress and beyond. And the popularity of Marjorie Taylor Greene, which appears totally unaffected by her grotesquely anti-Ukrainian views, gives serious cause to wonder.

Oleh Pavliuk, Journalist

Translated by Daria Meshcheriakova

European Pravda

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