In November 2018, California was hit with the worst wildfire in the state’s history. At the time, future Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) wrote a bizarre Facebook post that echoed QAnon conspiracy theorists and falsely claimed that the real and hidden culprit behind the disaster was a laser from space triggered by some nefarious group of people.
Greene’s post, which hasn’t previously been reported, is just the latest example to be unearthed of her embracing conspiracy theories about tragedies during her time as a right-wing commentator. In addition to being a QAnon supporter, Greene has pushed conspiracy theories about 9/11, the Parkland and Sandy Hook school shootings, the Las Vegas shooting, and the murder of Democratic staffer Seth Rich, among others.
Greene also has a history of pushing anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic remarks.
CNN’s Em Steck and Andrew Kaczynski recently reported that on her Facebook page, “Greene repeatedly indicated support for executing prominent Democratic politicians in 2018 and 2019 before being elected to Congress.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and the Republican Party have done little to stop Greene’s rising profile. During the 2020 campaign, the National Republican Congressional Committee added her to its “Young Guns” fundraising and recruitment program. In November, after Greene was elected, McCarthy defended her by falsely claiming that she’d denounced her QAnon views. And Republicans have selected Greene to be a member of the House Budget Committee and the House Committee on Education and Labor. (A spokesperson for McCarthy recently told Axios: “These comments are deeply disturbing and Leader McCarthy plans to have a conversation with the Congresswoman about them.”) One of Greene’s conspiracy theories directly targets McCarthy’s state.
The Camp Fire was a horrific California wildfire that started on November 8, 2018, and, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “burned a total of 153,336 acres, destroying 18,804 structures and resulting in 85 civilian fatalities and several firefighter injuries. The Camp Fire is the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history.” After an investigation, the department “determined that the Camp Fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by Pacific Gas and Electricity (PG&E) located in the Pulga area.” Scientists have noted that climate change has worsened wildfires in places like California.
Conspiracy theorists have pushed other explanations for the Camp Fire, especially on social media. One theory, which has been promoted by QAnon followers, falsely posits that a nefarious entity used laser beams or a similar instrument to start the fire for financial profit or to clear space for California’s high-speed rail system.
Rep. Greene is a proponent of the Camp Fire laser beam conspiracy theory. She wrote a November 17, 2018, Facebook post -- which is no longer available online -- in which she said that she was speculating “because there are too many coincidences to ignore” regarding the fire, including that then-California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) wanted to build the high-speed rail project and “oddly there are all these people who have said they saw what looked like lasers or blue beams of light causing the fires.” She also speculated that a vice chairman at “Rothschild Inc, international investment banking firm” was somehow involved, and suggested the fire was caused by a beam from “space solar generators.”
Greene added: “If they are beaming the suns energy back to Earth, I’m sure they wouldn’t ever miss a transmitter receiving station right??!! I mean mistakes are never made when anything new is invented. What would that look like anyway? A laser beam or light beam coming down to Earth I guess. Could that cause a fire? Hmmm, I don’t know. I hope not! That wouldn’t look so good for PG&E, Rothschild Inc, Solaren or Jerry Brown who sure does seem fond of PG&E.”
On the same day Greene made her conspiratorial Facebook post, McCarthy appeared on Fox News to, in his office’s words, “describe how President Trump, the Congress, and state of California have come together to help these communities respond and recover from the worst fires in the California’s history.”