QAnon-backing Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene says she 'regrets' supporting conspiracy theories

Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene expressed regret on Thursday for some of her incendiary remarks but failed to apologise for supporting violence against Democrats, as she faced punishment in the US House of Representatives.

Marjorie Taylor Greene wearing a 'Trump Won' face mask during the first session of the 117th Congress in the House Chamber.

Marjorie Taylor Greene wearing a 'Trump Won' face mask during the first session of the 117th Congress in the House Chamber. Source: AAP

A US lawmaker who backed QAnon before entering Congress renounced the conspiracy movement on Thursday and expressed regret for spreading misinformation, hours before the House was to reprimand her over extremist statements.

"These were words of the past, and these things... do not represent my values," Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene told the House of Representatives in a speech.

"I was allowed to believe things that weren't true and I would ask questions about them and talk about them," she added. "And that is absolutely what I regret."

Ms Greene has been the subject of some controversy  due to her support for the right-wing conspiracy group QAnon.
Source: Getty Images North America

Ms Greene added that she "walked away" from QAnon before she ran for Congress, and acknowledged that "school shootings are absolutely real" and that "9/11 absolutely happened" - US tragedies that she has cast doubt on in the past.

But while she described herself as "a sinner" before God, she also did not directly apologise in her 10-minute speech.

The posture of contrition came as she faced a disciplinary vote in the Democratic-led House after the chamber's top Republican Kevin McCarthy balked at punishing her over her rhetoric.

The furore over Ms Greene has exposed deep party divisions in the wake of Donald Trump's presidency.

Furious at the Republican leadership's lack of accountability for one of their own, Democrats scheduled a Thursday afternoon floor vote to boot Ms Greene from the education and budget committees.

The vote will force Republicans to go on record over Ms Greene's conduct, which includes her harassment of a teen school shooting survivor, trafficking in anti-Semitic and xenophobic tropes, and support of social media posts that endorsed assassinating Democratic lawmakers.

Democrats have condemned Republicans for failing to discipline Marjorie Taylor Greene over her previous public support of QAnon conspiracy theories.
Source: Getty

It will be a closely watched moment, as the party attempts the balancing act of accommodating base supporters of the still-influential Mr Trump, and winning back traditional Republicans who have bristled at Ms Greene's unrestrained politics.

'Restore this party'

Republicans huddled in a closed-door session late Wednesday to debate the path forward. Dozens of members reportedly gave Ms Greene a standing ovation when she addressed the group.

"The number one thing that happened in this conference was unity," Mr McCarthy insisted afterwards to reporters.

He notably made the remarks standing alongside conference chair Liz Cheney, the number three House Republican who faced a fierce backlash from conservatives for supporting Mr Trump's impeachment.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) during a joint session of Congress after the session resumed following protests at the US Capitol.
Source: AFP

But she survived a caucus vote Wednesday to remove her from leadership, in what she called a "resounding acknowledgement that we need to go forward together."

The Cheney vote was done by secret ballot, and congressman Adam Kinzinger said it was "unfortunate" that his fellow Republicans did not "have the courage to defend her" in a recorded vote.

"I think it says there needs to be a wake-up call," he told MSNBC. "It is weird that there's such a low bar right now but all we can do is try to restore this party."

Before running for Congress, Ms Greene "liked" Facebook posts that advocated the execution of Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In 2018 she asserted that California wildfires were ignited by a space laser controlled by a Jewish family, and she supported QAnon conspiracy theories that a "deep state" cabal operated against Mr Trump when he was president.

"When I started finding misinformation, lies, things that were not true in these QAnon posts, I stopped believing it," Ms Greene told the House.

Ms Pelosi on Thursday curtly rejected the suggestion that voting to remove Ms Greene from committees would set a bad precedent by emboldening Republicans to target Democrats for similar discipline should they win back the majority.

"If any of our (Democrats) threatened the safety of other members we'd be the first ones to take them off of the committees," Ms Pelosi said.

Published 5 February 2021 at 7:43am, updated 5 February 2021 at 8:44am
Source: AFP - SBS