Marjorie Greene said she got involved in politics because she is "sick and tired of President Trump being attacked every single day for the crime of beating Hillary Clinton."
Her candidacy for the 14th Congressional District seat has drawn national attention because Greene, a Republican and the favorite to represent the district that includes Whitfield and Murray counties, is an advocate for QAnon, a discredited conspiracy theory, and because of "hours of Facebook videos" of Greene that Politico said show her expressing "racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic views."
"Marjorie Taylor Greene suggested that Muslims do not belong in government; thinks Black people 'are held slaves to the Democratic Party'; called George Soros, a Jewish Democratic megadonor, a Nazi; and said she would feel 'proud' to see a Confederate monument if she were Black because it symbolizes progress made since the Civil War," said a story on Politico's website from June 18, "House Republican leaders condemn GOP candidate who made racist videos."
Some Republican Party leaders at the national level have criticized her.
Some Republican Party leaders at the local level — state Rep. Kasey Carpenter, R-Dalton, state Sen. Chuck Payne, R-Dalton, and state Rep. Steve Tarvin, R-Chickamauga — say they don't know enough about Greene's advocacy of QAnon or her videos to draw any judgments. The QAnon conspiracy theory says a cabal of "deep state" actors are trying to undermine President Trump and that he is leading a war against them.
Earlier this week, "Twitter announced ... it has begun taking sweeping actions to limit the reach of QAnon content and banned many of the conspiracy theory’s followers due to ongoing problems with harassment and the dissemination of misinformation," a story on CNBC's website said. Later in the story, it said, "Last year, the FBI designated QAnon as a potential domestic terror threat. The FBI’s report on QAnon’s ties to dangerous real-world activities led in part to Twitter’s decision, a spokesperson said."
Carpenter and Payne have endorsed John Cowan, a neurosurgeon at Rome's Harbin Clinic whom Greene faces in a GOP runoff on Aug. 11 for the seat currently held by Tom Graves, R-Ranger, who is not seeking reelection. Tarvin said he isn't endorsing either candidate but plans to vote for Cowan.
State Rep. Jason Ridley, R-Chatsworth, said he doesn't plan to make any endorsements in the runoff.
"I generally don't get involved in other people's races," he said.
Greene has been criticized by U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., who has endorsed Cowan, and who said in a statement, according to Politico, "The comments made by Ms. Greene are disgusting and don’t reflect the values of equality and decency that make our country great. I will be supporting Dr. Cowan.”
U.S. House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., also condemned Greene's comments through spokesmen.
Greene has received endorsements from U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, both Republican allies of President Trump.
After the GOP primary, President Trump tweeted "A big winner" about Greene and linked to an article on her first-place finish. Greene finished first in the nine-person June 9 primary with more than 40% of the vote.
Greene defends her views
"I’m tired of seeing weak-kneed, spineless Republicans not defending our president," Greene said in response to written questions. "The establishment Republican Party failed the people who voted for them. They didn’t fund President Trump’s border wall. They didn’t defund sanctuary cities and they didn’t defund Planned Parenthood."
"Our country is under attack against the very real threat of socialism," she said. "America cannot afford any more weak-kneed Republicans. If we’re going to save America and stop socialism, we need people who will take the fight to AOC (U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York), (U.S. House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and (U.S. Rep.) Ilhan Omar (D-Minn., and a Muslim). We have to fight back against these radicals."
Asked about her embrace of QAnon posts, Greene said, "Everybody knows there’s a deep state trying to undermine President Trump. It’s made up of the fake news media, the DC swamp, Democrats and even some spineless Republicans. The same people attacking me are the same people who shoved Russian collusion conspiracy theories down America’s throat and divided our country because the deep state, the DC Swamp and the fake news wanted to remove President Trump from office. These people need to be exposed and defeated."
Of her videos, she said, "I’m not politically correct. I speak the truth. People who believe in Sharia law should not be in government. Sharia law is incompatible with American values."
According to Politico, "In recordings obtained by Politico, Greene described Islamic nations under Sharia law as places where men have sex with 'little boys, little girls, multiple women' and 'marry their sisters' and 'their cousins.' She suggested the 2018 midterms — which ushered in the most diverse class of House freshmen — was part of 'an Islamic invasion of our government' and that “anyone that is a Muslim that believes in Sharia law does not belong in our government.”
Dalton businessman Ernie Sanders said he's a big believer in Greene.
"We had a good slate of really qualified candidates (in the primary)," he said. "What I like about her is her passion for the conservative values I believe in. I also like the fact she is a woman. Right now, our country is inundated with a lot of liberal women with power, and I believe she can stand up and oppose the liberal women in Congress in a way that a man could not do without being called a male chauvinist."
Sanders said he doesn't think it's a big deal that Greene switched her campaign from the 6th District to the 14th District.
"I admire her for saying 'A Republican can't get elected in this part of Atlanta.' I admire her for saying 'I want to stand for Donald Trump. I want to stand for the Second Amendment. I want to stand for unborn children, and the only way I can do that is to move to an area where I can be able to help,'" he said. "Conservative values are the same in Dalton and in Atlanta and in Blue Ridge."
He said he doesn't know enough about QAnon to make a judgement about that, but he said he appreciates that Greene is not "politically correct" and that she says what she thinks.
Greene lived in the Metro Atlanta area for most of the past two decades, and originally announced last year her intention to run for the Republican nomination for the 6th Congressional District, which consists of Atlanta's northern suburbs and is represented by Democrat Lucy McBath. Greene switched her campaign to the 14th District and moved to Rome after Graves announced he would not seek reelection.
During a Dalton Tea Party forum in February, Greene was asked about that move. Greene said she had many supporters in the 14th District ask her to run here and she became convinced that a Republican probably could not win in the 6th District, so she and her family moved to the 14th District.
"The most conservative district deserves the most conservative member of Congress," Greene said in response to a written question about why she moved her campaign to the 14th District. "This is a district that loves America and supports our president and so do I."
"I’ve been campaigning in Northwest Georgia more than any other candidate for office," she said. "The people want a fighter who will back the blue (police), and stand up to Antifa and BLM (Black Lives Matter). That’s why I received over 43,000 votes on Election Day, nearly doubling John Cowan’s support. The people know me, they know I’m a fighter, and I will fight for Northwest Georgia values. People over politicians!"
Local support for Cowan
In the General Primary on June 9, Greene paced the nine-person Republican field with 40.34% (43,892 votes) of the vote to Cowan's 21.01% (22,862 votes). Greene led Whitfield County with 45.6% (5,454 votes) to Cowan's 21.1% (2,528). The winner of the Republican Party runoff will face Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal in the general election on Nov. 3.
Carpenter said "it was an easy decision for me" to endorse Cowan. "I've known John for several years and have been impressed with him. I think he'll make a good congressman, and I was concerned about Marjorie not having lived in this district."
Payne said he spoke at length with Greene after she switched her campaign to the 14th District and to Cowan more recently.
"I think he's a conservative, and I was really impressed with his grasp of the legislative process," he said. "Talking to him, you'd think he has served in a legislature for several years."
Payne said he also likes Cowan because he has lived in the district for many years.
"I just think he understands this area better," he said.
Tarvin said, "I just think he's (Cowan) a better fit for this district, will do a better job of representing us."
Sarah Fields, who has twice sought the Republican nomination for state House District 6, said she supported Cowan in the primary and will be voting for him in the runoff.
"My major things are, and I've heard this from other people, we need someone local," she said. "I guess you can run for Congress and not have lived there. I understand it's legal, but I don't like it. I want someone from this area."
Cowan vs. Greene
Cowan did not respond to email and text requests for an interview. But in recent weeks he has criticized Greene for her remarks at a Dalton City Council meeting last month.
During that meeting where council members heard from people about the possibility of relocating the statue of Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston from downtown Dalton, Greene said, "We are seeing situations where (statues of) Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, all kinds of statues are being attacked. It seems to be an effort to take down history. Whether I see a statue that may be something that I fully disagree with, like Adolf Hitler, maybe it's a statue of Satan himself, I would not want to say take it down. But again, so that I can tell my children and teach others about who these people are and what they did and what they may be about."
Greene said she "supports keeping all of our monuments."
"As a mother of three kids, I always want to be able to point to statues, monuments or any type of history, so that I can point them out to my children and teach them lessons about our country, whether they are good, bad, embarrassing, something that I'm happy about, something that I'm sad about or something that I wish hadn't happened," she said.
Greene said at that meeting that people should support such monuments not because the monuments support any particular cause but because they represent history.
Asked why she believed it was important to address the City Council on the Johnston statue, Greene said, "The radical left is burning our cities, looting our businesses, tearing down our monuments, destroying our history. Gen. Joseph Johnston saved the city of Dalton from being burned to the ground. The left tearing down statues won’t stop with Gen. Joseph Johnston. They’re coming after Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and, soon, they’ll want to rip apart our Constitution. I will stop them."
Cowan later posted on Facebook, "I never thought I'd have to say this, but I'm the only candidate in this race who does NOT support monuments of Satan or Hitler in Northwest Georgia."
Greene's business background
A graduate of the University of Georgia, Greene is co-owner and a former officer in Taylor Commercial, her family's construction company. She also founded and ran a CrossFit gym for several years before selling it.
"In my businesses, I’ve done every single job, from working on the construction crews to creating multimillion dollar budgets for projects," Greene said. "As a business owner, you have to work from sunup to sundown. We’re a construction company that works in multi-family housing units. Our industry was hit heavily during the 2008 recession. My husband and I navigated our company through that time and we survived and kept our employees. I’m super proud of that.
"CrossFit was a passion of mine. At one time I was ranked 47th in my division. I took that passion and made it a business and now it’s one of the most successful gyms in the country. We need more business leaders with that kind of work ethic and thinking representing us in Washington."