Pressure Mounts for Congresswoman to Resign for Endorsing False Claims School Shootings Were Staged
Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's appeared to endorse baseless conspiracy theories about school shootings in 2018, before she got elected to Congress
Gun violence prevention organizations are calling for freshman Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene to resign after it was revealed she publicly expressed support for baseless conspiracy theories that school shootings in Sandy Hook, Conn., and Parkland, Fla., never happened.
In 2018, before she was elected to Congress, Greene, now a Republican Georgia Rep., responded to a Facebook comment that the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland was staged by writing, "Exactly!" the watchdog group, Media Matters in America, was first to report.
When another commentator wrote that "none of the School shootings were real or done by the ones who were supposedly arrested for them," and also wrote that the Sandy Hook massacre was a "STAGGED [sic] SHOOTING," Greene liked the post and replied, "That's all true," according to screenshots obtained by Media Matters.
Her comment has since been taken down from Facebook because it violates the company's policies, a Facebook spokesperson told The Washington Post.
After Media Matters brought the previously unreported comments to light on Jan. 19, those impacted firsthand by the shootings expressed their outrage at her false claims.
On Jan. 19, March for Our Lives Parkland, a gun violence prevention organization led by Parkland High School students who survived the shooting, responded to Greene's comments on Twitter, saying, "Resign, coward."
Everytown for Gun Safety, co-founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with its counterparts, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, also called for Greene to resign, The Hill reports.
"Dangerous conspiracy theorists who peddle disinformation like Rep. Greene ever further damage the credibility of Congress," Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said in a statement, The Hill reports. "Taylor Greene's lies traumatize the survivors of shooting tragedies and put their safety in danger. She must resign immediately."
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Sandy Hook Promise, an organization formed by parents of victims in the wake of the Newtown school shooting, is asking people to sign a petition demanding that Greene, herself a mother of three, renounce her statements and "focus on preventing future tragedies."
Parents who lost children that day, including Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan, 6, was killed along with 19 other first graders and 6 educators in one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history, are stunned by Greene's comments.
"I invite Rep. Greene – and anyone else who believes that the Sandy Hook tragedy was anything but the massacre it was – to come to Newtown," Hockley, one of SHP's managing directors, wrote in a statement. "I will show you the urn that holds my baby boy's ashes and his bullet-hole-riddled sweatshirt."
So far more than 29,000 people have signed the petition.
"This kind of dangerous and irresponsible thinking is disgusting and appalling, and it is even more reprehensible when it comes from an elected official who's focus should be on keeping children safe," Mark Barden, another SHP managing director said in the statement.
Besides expressing her support for baseless theories about the school shootings, Greene has publicly expressed belief in the imaginary QAnon conspiracy theory, whose predictions about the 2020 election and other issues failed to materialize.
In an emailed statement to PEOPLE, Greene's communications director Nick Dyer wrote, "Congresswoman Greene isn't concerned about what national Democrat fundraising groups have to say about her. She represents the people of Northwest Georgia, not special interest lobbies that oppose her strong conservatives stances."
Dyer added, "She has nothing to do with QAnon. She doesn't support it. She doesn't follow it. She believes it's disinformation."
Rep. Greene's office did not respond when asked if the congresswoman had anything to add regarding family members of the Parkland victims who were hurt or offended by her past comment about the Parkland shooting.