(CNN)On Wednesday morning, the President of the United States tweeted congratulations to a Republican candidate who won a congressional runoff in Georgia on Tuesday.
“Congratulations to future Republican Star Marjorie Taylor Greene on a big Congressional primary win in Georgia against a very tough and smart opponent,” wrote Donald Trump. “Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up – a real WINNER!”
Who, you ask, is Marjorie Taylor Greene? Well, aside from being the near-certain next member of Congress in Georgia’s strongly Republican 14th District, she is a public supporter of the QAnon movement — a broad-scale conspiracy theory that sprung to life in early 2017 and is based on a belief that there is a high-level government official, “Q,” who sprinkles clues on internet message boards about a series of massive “deep state” conspiracies at work in the country.
(The FBI has said QAnon is a potential domestic terrorism threat.)
“Q is a patriot,” Greene said in a nearly 30-minute long video from 2017. She called the conspiracy theory “something worth listening to and paying attention to,” adding: “He is someone that very much loves his country, and he’s on the same page as us, and he is very pro-Trump.”
In short: Greene is set to be the first QAnon congresswoman. And now she has the very public backing of Trump.
If all of this doesn’t concern you, it should. And for a Republican Party in Washington already worrying about what its decision to capitulate to Trump’s hostile takeover of the GOP will mean for the future, Greene’s victory is the worst nightmare come true.
Here’s a quick rundown of just some of the things Greene has said:
* “She’s a hypocrite. She’s anti-American. And we’re going to kick that b*tch out of Congress.” — Greene on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (California) at her victory party Tuesday night.
* Said African Americans are “held slaves to the Democratic Party.”
* Referred to the election of two Muslim members of Congress in 2018 as the start of a “Muslim invasion.”
* Tweeted in the wake of a Washington Post story about her lead in the June primary: “The Chinese propagandists at the Washington Post are attacking me the same way they attack Donald Trump, and other conservatives.”
And that’s entirely apart from her public support of QAnon! Which is a baseless conspiracy theory that believes, among other things, that Trump was recruited by the military to run for president in 2016 because he alone wasn’t beholden to the secret power brokers of the world, and could break the hold that they have on American society. And that “Q” continues to signal that the likes of Hillary Clinton will be rounded up in a mass arrest for alleged crimes against society. While QAnon is not responsible for the Pizzagate conspiracy — the appalling and incorrect idea that Clinton and her cronies were involved in a pedophilia ring at a pizza shop in Northwest Washington — there’s considerable overlap among the two belief groups. Including, it appears, Greene.
“I’m very excited about that now there’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it,” she said in 2017.
This — all of this — is what Trump embraced on Wednesday morning — even though the top two leaders of the Republican Party in the House had distanced themselves from Greene following the revelations about her xenophobic and racist comments. This, all of this, is what Trump praised as “strong on everything” and a “real WINNER.”
Why? Because Trump himself loves conspiracy theories. His candidacy for president was rooted in one — the false idea that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He has pushed any number of conspiracy theories in office — from the debunked notion that Obama orchestrated a campaign to spy on him during the 2016 campaign to the idea that Democrats inflated the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico to an unfounded allegation that 3 to 5 million illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election. (For a more fulsome list of Trump’s conspiracy theories, check this out.)
While Trump has never fully embraced the QAnon movement, he has retweeted LOTS of QAnon-linked accounts — and supporters of the movement are forever sifting through his tweets and public pronouncements for evidence that he is sending signals to them about the timing of the planned arrest of high-level Democrats for their role in some sort of massive conspiracy.
His embrace of Greene is the most prominent move by Trump to show support for the QAnon movement, however. While it’s not entirely clear that Trump knows the details of the Q movement (or Greene’s other beliefs), it really doesn’t matter. The President of the United States — as he has done throughout his time in office — has given coverage and encouragement to belief system way out of the mainstream. Not only that, he has welcomed these fringe candidates and groups to align with the Republican Party.
And Greene won’t be the last of the Q class infiltrating the Washington Republican class. In another show of momentum for the movement, Oregon Republicans nominated a Senate candidate who has spoken glowingly of Q. Lauren Boebert, who beat Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton in a Republican primary last month in a district Trump won handily in 2016, said this during the primary campaign: “Everything that I’ve heard of Q, I hope that this is real, because it only means America is getting stronger and better.”
Donald Trump has seeded this soil. Now the broader Republican Party will have to deal with what lies beneath.