New Education Committee member Marjorie Taylor Greene blamed wildfires on secret space laser

Greene linked the claim to the Rothschilds, a wealthy Jewish family targeted by anti-Semitic conspiracy theories

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published January 29, 2021 1:01PM (EST)

Marjorie Taylor Greene (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Marjorie Taylor Greene (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the newest Republican member of the House Education and Labor Committee, has scrubbed posts calling for violence against Democrats and pushing conspiracy theories from her Facebook page amid a push to expel her from Congress.

Greene, a longtime QAnon conspiracy theorist, removed dozens of Facebook posts from 2018 and 2019 after CNN and Media Matters flagged numerous videos, posts, comments and likes seemingly endorsing the assassination of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and FBI agents who investigated former President Donald Trump, according to CNN. She also alleged that the Parkland school shooting was a fake "false flag" event, and harassed David Hogg, a survivor of the shooting, before he testified to Congress. She also claimed that Sandy Hook and other school shootings were not "real or done by the ones supposedly arrested for them" and suggested that the 2017 Las Vegas massacre may have been a conspiracy intended to pass gun control measures. Greene has also suggested that 9/11 was an inside job and that the Obama administration may have used MS-13 gang members to kill former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. In another post, she discussed a fake video that sparked the baseless "Frazzledrip" conspiracy theory, claiming to show Clinton and former aide Huma Abedin killing a child in a satanic ritual and wearing her face as a mask.

In another 2018 Facebook post flagged by Media Matters on Thursday, Greene theorized that the 2018 Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history, may have been caused by a secret space laser linked to the energy company PG&E, California officials and the Rothschild family, a wealthy Jewish family at the heart of many anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

"There are too many coincidences to ignore," Greene wrote while sharing an article about the company Solaren planning to launch solar panels into orbit.

"There are all these people who have said they saw what looked like lasers or blue beams of light causing the fires, and pictures and videos," she wrote, adding that she found it "really curious" that PG&E partnered with Solaren on the project and that the "Vice Chairman of Rothschild Inc." is somehow involved.

"Space solar generators collect the suns energy and then beam it back to Earth to a transmitter to convert to electricity. … If they are beaming the suns energy back to Earth, I'm sure they wouldn't ever miss a transmitter receiving station right??!!" Greene wrote. "What would that look like anyway? A laser beam or light beam coming to Earth, I guess. Could that cause a fire? Hmmm, I don't know. I hope not! That wouldn't look so good for PG&E, Rothschild Inc., Solaren, or [former California Gov.] Jerry Brown."

Though Solaren and PG&E partnered on the project, the deal never actually happened. A state investigation did blame PG&E for causing the fire, but not by laser beams from outer space. Rather, the utility company'sc aging power lines and faulty maintenance were the likely cause.

Democrats have denounced Greene's social media posts and Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., introduced a resolution to expel her from Congress over threats against her new colleagues.

"Such advocacy for extremism and sedition not only demands her immediate expulsion from Congress, but it also merits strong and clear condemnation from all of her Republican colleagues," Gomez said in a statement on Wednesday.

A spokesman for House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told Axios that the comments were "deeply disturbing" and that McCarthy would "have a conversation" with the freshman congresswoman. But GOP leadership has assigned her to the House Education and Labor Committee and its Budget Committee anyway. McCarthy previously stripped former Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, of his committee assignments after he made comments defending white nationalism and white supremacy.

Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott, D-Va., said Thursday that McCarthy "must explain how someone with this background represents the Republican party on education issues."

Scott noted that Greene "claimed that that the killing of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax" and claimed that the "killing of 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was staged."

"House Republicans have appointed someone to this Committee who chased and berated a 17-year-old survivor of a mass school shooting, and then celebrated this behavior by posting it on social media," he said. "House Republicans have appointed someone to this Committee who has publicly endorsed violence against elected officials. … [McCarthy] is sending a clear message to students, parents, and educators about the views of the Republican party."

Pelosi agreed on Thursday that Greene should be removed from the committee.

"What could they be thinking? Or is thinking too generous of a word for what they might be doing?" she said. "It's absolutely appalling, and I think the focus has to be on the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives for the disregard they have for the deaths of those children."

Democrats plan to vote on Gomez's measure to expel Greene. Though it is unlikely to pass, since a two-thirds supermajority is required to expel a member, Republicans will be forced to go on record as to whether they think Greene should remain in the House.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., is also planning to introduce legislation to kick Greene off the committees if she is allowed to remain in Congress, according to Politico.

When a reporter tried to question Greene about her past comments on Wednesday, she was thrown out of a town hall and threatened with arrest.

Hogg, whom Greene has described as "little Hitler" and a "paid little pawn," said in an interview with CNN that McCarthy should "take all of her committee assignments away ... also, don't support her when she runs for re-election again and try to get her primaried."

Axios reported on Thursday that Republican leaders met last summer during Greene's campaign to express their concerns about Greene. Former Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., reportedly described the then-candidate as "crazy," but "McCarthy and others ultimately did little to stop her."

John Cowan, who lost to Greene in the Republican primary, told the outlet that McCarthy and House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., "acknowledged that Greene was a serious problem for the party" and while both men condemned Greene during the primary, McCarthy ultimately defended her after she won.

"I mean, at some point, you have to say, 'No shoes, no shirt, no service,'" Cowan said.

The parents of children killed in the Parkland and Sandy Hook shootings have also condemned Greene and called for McCarthy to remove her.

"She is a depraved person who ran for Congress on a lie," Fred Guttenberg, the father of slain Parkland student Jaime Guttenberg, told MSNBC. He went on to cite McCarthy's trip to Florida on Thursday to make nice with Trump, telling him, "When you're done having drinks and cake with the bully in Palm Beach, you need to come back and you need to remove her. She has no place in Congress."

Mark Barden and Nicole Hockley, the parents of seven-year-old Sandy Hook victim Daniel Barden, also issued a statement condemning Greene's new role on the Education Committee.

"Having a Sandy Hook and Parkland denier on the House Education and Labor Committee is an attack on any and every family whose loved ones were murdered in mass shootings that have now become fodder for hoaxers," they said.

Pelosi also cited the investigation into whether members of Congress assisted in the deadly Capitol riot as another cause for concern after Greene called for her execution.

"The enemy is within the House of Representatives," Pelosi said. "We have members of Congress who want to bring guns on the floor and have threatened violence against other members."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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