Politics

How Many Republican Leaders Believe Sens. Romney, Murkowski, and Collins are “Pro-Pedophile”?

Greene grinning with her wind blowing and sunglasses on.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in Commerce, Georgia, on March 26. Megan Varner/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted a series of posts accusing any senator who supports confirming Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court of being “pro-pedophile,” focusing specifically on Republican Sens. Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins, who voted on Monday to move Jackson’s nomination out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Greene wrote that “[a]ny Senator voting to confirm #KJB is pro-pedophile just like she is,” before calling out Murkowski, Collins, and Romney by name. “You are either a Senator that supports child rapists, child pornography, and the most vile child predators,” or not, she added.

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If there’s any doubt she was accusing her fellow Republicans of being “pro-pedophile,” Greene went on TV on Tuesday evening and repeated “Murkowski, Collins, and Mitt Romney are pro-pedophile.”

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“I don’t even care about Murkowski and Collins and Romney getting offended, but I hope the people in their states call them out for being pro-pedophile,” she continued.

Greene’s baseless claim came from a bad-faith campaign against Judge Jackson in the Senate Judiciary Committee that was led by Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who falsely accused the judge of being soft on sex offenders when her record was in line with other judges.

This is not Greene’s first foray into citing lies to portray her political adversaries as criminal deviants who sexually abuse children. Before she was in Congress, Greene was a vocal proponent of the Pizzagate and QAnon-inflected conspiracy theories that the Democratic Party is run by a cabal of satanic child predators. Adherents to the QAnon conspiracy theory believe that Hollywood elite and Democratic politicians sexually assault children as part of an effort to harvest an imaginary drug called adrenochrome to give them demonic powers. (Really, look it up.) In September 2017, Greene published a blog post titled “MUST READ – Democratic Party Involved With Child Sex, Satanism, and The Occult.” In a November 2017 post, Greene highlighted an article that she said “tells information” that “John Podesta is a pedophile and pizza gate is real.” Pizzagate is the theory that gained popularity after Donald Trump’s election that Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Podesta, was running a child sex trafficking ring out of a D.C. pizza shop. (Again, people really claimed this and you can look it up.)

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Notably, Greene endorsed the idea that “pizza gate is real” after a gunman stormed the pizza place in question and shot up the restaurant while in search of the child sex traffickers. Although nobody was hurt, prosecutors said that outcome was “entirely the product of good luck.” (The case ultimately went before Judge Jackson, who sentenced the shooter to four years in prison.) Finally, in a 2017 video, Greene said QAnon was “something worth listening to and paying attention to” and that “there’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out.”

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So again, for Greene, these sorts of claims are not new. What’s new was the tactic, used by Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee, to weaponize the beliefs of Greene and others like her to attack a future Supreme Court justice, and label her as being pro-pedophile.

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What’s also new is that, as of now, few Republican leaders seem to have come to the defense of their colleagues Murkowski, Collins, and Romney, many opting to stay silent about Greene’s comments. Which raises the question: How many leading Republicans, like Greene, believe that Murkowski, Collins, and Romney are “pro-pedophile” and that each of them “supports child rapists, child pornography, and the most vile child predators.”

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I emailed staff for every Republican member of House leadership, every Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, every member of Republican Senate leadership, and the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee (and Romney’s niece) Ronna McDaniel to ask if they believed that Murkowski, Collins, and Romney are “pro-pedophile” and that each of them “supports child rapists, child pornography, and the most vile child predators.” I will be updating the responses as I get them.

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So far here are the replies.

Yes, I believe those senators are pro-pedophile.

None so far.

No, I don’t believe that.

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel: “While I strongly disagree with the three Republican Senators’ intention to confirm Biden’s hand-picked, activist judge, I do not at all believe those Senators condone pedophilia.”
Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri: A representative says: “Senator Hawley has already commented on this. ‘I don’t think that Judge Jackson is pro-pedophile. I think she has a judicial philosophy where she thinks these crimes … are over-sentenced, over-criminalized,’ Hawley said. ‘I don’t think she’s in favor of this activity, but I think she’s got a philosophy that leads her to treat these criminals leniently.’ ”
Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, Sen. Rick Scott, Florida: “No.”
GOP House Conference vice chairman, Rep. Mike Johnson, Louisiana: “No.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina: It’s a free country. You can say outrageous things if you want to; but it’s very inappropriate.”
Sen. Mike Lee, Utah: No, I think that’s silly.”

Those we are awaiting response from (members of Republican leadership or the Senate Judiciary Committee)

Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee
Sen. John Cornyn, Texas
Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska
Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas
Sen. John Kennedy, Louisiana
Sen. Thom Tillis, North Carolina
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee
GOP Conference secretary, Rep. Richard Hudson, North Carolina
Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee, Rep. Gary Palmer, Alabama
Chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Rep. Tom Emmer, Minnesota
House Minority leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, California
House Minority whip, Rep. Steve Scalise, Louisiana
GOP House Conference chairwoman, Rep. Elise Stefanik, New York
Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky
Chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri
Senate Minority Whip, Sen. John Thune, South Dakota
Vice chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference, Sen. Joni Ernst, Iowa
Republican Conference chairman, Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming

I’ve also reached out to the offices of Collins, Murkowski, and Romney to ask them if they were “offended” by Greene’s comments, or if they are “pro-pedophile” and “support child rapists, child pornography, and the most vile child predators.” Collins’ office pointed me to a statement in which she said of Greene: “She obviously can say whatever she wishes, but that’s clearly ludicrous and sadly typical of what I expect of her.” I will update this post if and when there are further replies.

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