A rookie Republican congresswoman from Georgia, Marjorie Taylor Greene, was suspended from Twitter on Sunday for 12 hours after she repeatedly tweeted election misinformation.
Greene has a long history of embracing baseless conspiracy theories. And she has been a serial tweeter of false claims — about the election, the Capitol insurrection and other subjects — since she won her seat in November.
Below is a fact check of 11 false claims Greene has tweeted in the last month alone, including three related claims about the integrity of the election. After CNN emailed her congressional office to offer her the opportunity to comment on any of these findings, her communications director, Nick Dyer, had only a brief response, “Here’s our comment: ‘CNN is fake news.'”
The insurrection timeline
Defending President Donald Trump against accusations that he incited the Capitol insurrection, Greene argued: “The timeline doesn’t fit the narrative. Trump supporters could not have listened to President Trump’s speech at the WH and then been ‘incited’ by him to walk to and attack the Capitol.”
Facts First: This is just not true — even leaving aside the fact that insurrectionists near the Capitol could have listened to Trump’s speech on their phones or could have been inspired by Trump’s previous rhetoric. There was more than enough time for people to walk about a mile and a half from The Ellipse park, where Trump gave a speech that ended before 1:15 p.m. ET, to the Capitol, where rioters were still present more than three hours after Trump concluded. In fact, the FBI alleges that some insurrection participants did make this walk, including one who allegedly went from the Trump speech to her hotel and then into the Capitol.
White supremacists and the insurrection
Abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America tweeted the following about the insurrection: “Anti-choice extremists, white supremacists, and violent misogynists all converged this week to attack our country. But the thing is, these groups already have a lot of overlap. What we saw was horrifying and devastating. But it wasn’t surprising.”
Greene responded that the Capitol attack was “terrible and shouldn’t have happened” — but then added that all of the people who died as a result of the insurrection were White, “so I’m not sure where your white supremacy bs is coming from.”
Facts First: According to the FBI, it is true, not “bs,” that White supremacists were involved in the insurrection. (Also, the fact that people killed at the Capitol were White obviously does not mean White supremacists could not have been among the perpetrators. Some of the people killed had been participants in the insurrection. And White supremacists sometimes kill other White people.)
The FBI alleges that Bryan Betancur, who has been charged for alleged involvement in the insurrection, is “is a self-professed White supremacist who has made statements to law enforcement officers that he is a member of several white supremacy organizations.” The FBI alleges that a confidential source says that another man who has been charged, Timothy Louis Hale-Cusanelli, is “an avowed white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer.”
A third man who has been charged, Robert Keith Packer, is alleged to be the man seen at the insurrection wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt. The FBI alleges the shirt “appears to be a symbol of Nazi hate ideology.”
A fourth man who has been charged, Anthime Joseph (Tim) Gionet, is an Internet personality who is known for his role in the racist and anti-Semitic “alt-right” movement and who attended the infamous White nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
The charges against these men were announced after Greene’s “bs” tweet, but nonetheless, there was never any basis to accuse NARAL of making up the claim that white supremacists were present at the Capitol. In addition, a variety of symbols used by white supremacists had been seen at the Capitol during the insurrection.
The publication Insider has reported that Gionet has disputed the assertion that he is a white nationalist. Packer did not respond to CNN requests for comment before his arrest. Betancur and Hale-Cusanelli did not immediately have lawyers listed in an online federal system.
Greene tweeted that “there was MASS voter fraud on a scale that should terrify every American regardless of political party.”
Facts First: This is, again, just false. There is no evidence of mass voter fraud — as Republican election officials around the country and Trump-appointed former Attorney General William Barr have acknowledged. Rather, there have been isolated instances of alleged fraud by lone voters, far too minor to have affected the outcome.
The integrity of the election
We’ll address three related claims under this one heading.
Greene repeatedly called the presidential election “stolen.” She repeatedly referred to some of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral votes as “fraudulent.” And she explicitly claimed that Biden “lost” the election and Trump “won.”
Facts First: All three claims are false. Biden won the election, fairly and legally. There is no evidence to suggest otherwise. Trump’s various claims about supposed fraud and supposed election-rigging have been rejected in court and debunked at length by officials and fact checkers.
The presidential election in Georgia
Greene criticized Gabriel Sterling, a senior official in the office of Georgia’s top elections official, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. She tweeted, “You ran a Nov 3rd election that was stolen bc you idiots at the SOS mailed out millions of absentee ballots to any one and everyone while GA was an open state.”
Georgia was not one of the states to send an absentee ballot to every eligible registered voter; a ballot was only sent to an eligible voter who requested one. Georgia does not require any excuse to vote absentee, but this no-excuse policy was created by state Republican leaders in 2005, not by Raffensperger himself.
The Senate elections in Georgia
Greene tweeted: “… Georgia state leaders refused to listen to Georgia tax payers. They refused to change anything after allowing @realDonaldTrump’s election to be stolen. And they refused to #StopTheSteaI with our two senate seats.”
Facts First: There was no “steal” of Georgia’s two Senate seats; Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won fair and square in the January runoff elections. Their Republican opponents, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, have both conceded defeat.
The presidential election in Pennsylvania
Greene tweeted, “202,377 more votes cast than voters voting in Pennsylvania! This is called election fraud.”
Facts First: False again. State officials and fact checkers have repeatedly explained that the claim that Pennsylvania had more votes than registered voters is just not true; Greene was invoking an incorrect figure from a Republican state legislator who had relied on incomplete data.
The First Amendment
The day after Twitter banned Trump’s @realDonaldTrump account, Greene tweeted, “Yesterday they crushed the First Amendment. You can see what’s coming next. I vow to do everything I can to protect American’s Second Amendment rights.”
Facts First: Nobody crushed the First Amendment on January 8. Greene didn’t explicitly say she was talking about Twitter’s decision to suspend Trump’s account, but if she was, she was clearly inaccurate. The First Amendment prohibits the government from silencing citizens, but it does not require corporations, including social media companies like Twitter, to allow citizens to speak freely.
Violence in 2020
Greene tweeted, “ZERO Democrats have condemned the political violence of BLM/Antifa terrorists that lasted the entirety of 2020. Instead, each of them fanned the flames of hate.”
Facts First: Numerous Democrats — including Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and senior members of the party’s congressional caucus — condemned rioting and looting last year while also supporting peaceful Black Lives Matter protests against racism and police brutality.
Republicans are entitled to argue that Democrats should have issued such condemnations more forcefully or frequently, or that they should have been more explicit in identifying the perpetrators, but it’s just inaccurate to say or suggest they didn’t issue the condemnations at all.