Greene revives QAnon smear in attack on GOP senators backing Jackson's SCOTUS nomination

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., on Monday launched an outlandish attack against three Republican senators who support Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, accusing them of somehow being “pro-pedophile.”

The line of attack echoes Greene’s past support for the QAnon conspiracy theory that alleged former President Donald Trump was working to take down a powerful cabal of child traffickers typically portrayed as the Democratic elite. Believers in the debunked belief frequently allege that their political opponents support pedophiles.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene speaking to Trump supporters.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene addresses Trump supporters in Commerce, Ga., on March 26. (Megan Varner/Getty Images)

Earlier on Monday, Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said they would be joining fellow Republican Susan Collins of Maine in supporting President Biden’s nominee to the Supreme Court in a final vote expected later this week.

The accusation that Jackson had been light in her sentencing of child porn offenders originated with Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and was a running theme throughout her confirmation hearings despite repeated analyses showing that Jackson’s rulings were within the mainstream of her fellow judges. Even the conservative National Review magazine called the allegation against Jackson “meritless to the point of demagoguery.”

“As a mother and a judge who has had to deal with these cases, I was thinking that nothing could be further from the truth,” Jackson said when first responding to the accusations.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson listens to questions from Sen. Josh Hawley during confirmation hearings on her nomination to the Supreme Court. (Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters)

Greene’s charge that lawmakers who vote to confirm Jackson are “pro-pedophile” takes that wild accusation to a new level, but she’s not alone in promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory. A recent survey from the Public Religion Research Institute found that 16% of Americans believed that “the government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex-trafficking operation.” Republicans across the country have played into those fears in recent months with a series of bills targeting the LGBTQ community, with those opposing the legislation being labeled as “groomers.”

Whether Greene faces any internal discipline for labeling three fellow Republicans as pedophile-friendly remains to be seen. Last month, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy declined to punish Greene for speaking at a white nationalist convention. McCarthy has said that if Republicans take back control of the House this fall, Greene will be returned to committee assignments that were stripped from her by Democrats due to her promotion of conspiracy theories and violence against political opponents.

Greene is running for reelection in a district that is a safe Republican seat, but a group of Georgia voters is challenging her eligibility under the argument that she helped organize the deadly insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, seeking to overturn the 2020 election results. Greene has filed a lawsuit of her own, “vigorously” denying the allegation.

A once obscure provision of the 14th Amendment says no one can serve in Congress “who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.”

Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., survived a similar eligibility challenge earlier this year. The freshman Republican made headlines last week after alleging he had been invited to cocaine-fueled orgies by members of Congress, drawing the wrath of McCarthy and North Carolina Republicans.