The Jolt: A Holocaust smear enters the 14th District race for Congress

Marjorie Greene, of Milton, and candidate for congress in the sixth district, participates in a "Stop Impeachment Now" rally outside the office of Rep. Lucy McBath on Wednesday, October 9, 2019, in Sandy Springs. (Elijah Nouvelage for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Elijah Nouvelage

Credit: Elijah Nouvelage

Marjorie Taylor Greene, the leading GOP candidate in the 14th District congressional race, has peddled QAnon conspiracy theories. She’s wondered on Facebook whether the 2017 Las Vegas massacre was a plot to do away with the Second Amendment.

Republican members of the U.S. House have denounced her comments about Black Americans as “disgusting,” “offensive,” and “bigoted.”

On Monday, Greene went a step further, defending the lie that Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros helped send fellow Jews to death chambers during the Holocaust.

In a WSB-TV interview last night with Justin Gray, the GOP congressional candidate was repeatedly pressed on statements that Soros, whose family was subject to the Nazi occupation, was somehow a Nazi himself. Here’s a transcript:

Greene: “I’m sorry, anybody that turns over their own people to be burned in ovens, I would definitely say is a horrible person.”

Gray: “Are you saying George Soros is turning over his own people to be burned in ovens? I don’t understand.”

Greene: “Listen, I’m not going to play the twist the words game with you.”

Gray: “That’s not a twist of words. I don’t understand. I would like you to explain it.”

Greene: “No, you clearly are trying to twist words with me.”

Gray: “I’m reading your own statement back to you, ma’am.”

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Greene faces Republican John Cowan, a Rome neurosurgeon, in next Tuesday’s runoff to succeed U.S. Rep. Tom Graves. She moved into the district to run for the seat.

“When approached with her own words, she can’t defend what she says,” said Cowan spokesman Brian Robinson. “She can’t face the music to her own record. She can’t explain it. She’s a YouTube star, not a congresswoman.”

Although he has always been a favorite topic in GOP rhetoric, Soros has become an even bigger target on right-wing Internet sites since protests erupted across the nation over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. From the Anti-Defamation League:

Aggressive language towards Soros has exploded on social media sites like Twitter, where a sample assessment showed that negative tweets about Soros rose from 20,000 per day on May 26 to more than 500,000 per day on May 30.

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Specifically, the Independent reports that the Soros/Holocaust claim festered on far-right message boards long before before appearing in Roseanne Barr’s 2018 Twitter rant and the feeds of Donald Trump Jr.

But first things first. George Soros was 13 when Nazi Germany invaded Hungary. Thirteen.

In a 1994 piece by Michael Lewis that appeared in “The New Republic,” Soros explained a well-known fact -- that Nazi authorities issued their orders through local Judenraete, Jewish councils of local leaders. An extended quote from Soros:

The Jewish Council asked the little kids to hand out the deportation notices. I was told to go to the Jewish Council. And there I was given these small slips of paper. It was three or four lines. It said report to the rabbi seminary at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning. Bring a blanket and food for twenty-four hours. And I was given a list of names. I took this piece of paper to my father. He instantly recognized it, you see. This was a list of Hungarian Jewish lawyers. He said, “You deliver the slips of paper and tell the people that if they report they will be deported.” I’m not sure to what extent he knew they were going to be gassed. I did what my father said. There was one man I shall not forget. I took it to him and told him what my father had said. He said: “Tell your father that I am a law-abiding citizen, that I have always been a law-abiding citizen and I am not going to start breaking the law now.” And that stayed with me forever.

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Soros said much the same in a 1998 interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

Greene isn’t the only Georgia GOP candidate who has built conspiracy theories around Soros.

Rich McCormick, the emergency room doctor who is the Republican nominee in the Seventh Congressional District, told a broadcaster on a QAnon-tied Youtube channel that Soros had donated to Black Lives Matter groups to increase violence at protests.

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Already posted: Even though she’s a self-funder, U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler is getting timely backup from a free-spending outside group:

The newly-formed Georgia United Victory spent more than $1.5 million on a two-week flight of ads that begin airing Tuesday. The first volley takes direct aim at U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, her Republican arch-rival in the messy special election.

The group radiates with support from Gov. Brian Kemp’s orbit. His former aides are said to be among its advisers, and its chaired by Martha Zoller, a one-time Kemp staffer who has a history with Collins. She was defeated by him in a bruising 2012 runoff for the Gainesville-based U.S. House seat he’s held for four terms.

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Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, the chief GOP challenger to U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, is headed to middle Georgia today for several days of National Guard duty. His campaign sent out this parting press release:

On the day Doug Collins reports to Warner Robins Air Force Base to serve in his role as a Lt. Colonel and Air Force Chaplain, a shadowy Kelly Loeffler dark-money group launched a (pretty silly) attack on his record.

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President Donald Trump sat down for an interview with Axios on HBO where he discussed mail-in voting and the coronavirus pandemic. But a detour to discuss the legacy of Congressman John Lewis is currently among the most viral moments from the talk. Coincidentally, the interview was taped last week, on the same day Lewis was lying in state in the U.S. Capitol. Some of the president’s quotes:

“I don’t know John Lewis. He chose not to come to my inauguration. ... I never met John Lewis, actually, I don’t believe.”

“He didn’t come to my inauguration. He didn’t come to my State of the Union speeches. And that’s OK. That’s his right. And, again, nobody has done more for Black Americans than I have.”

“He should have come. I think he made a big mistake.”

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Does he find Lewis impressive?

“I can’t say one way or the other. I find a lot of people impressive. I find many people not impressive.”

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Former President Barack Obama issued his first round of endorsements on Monday, underscoring the lengthy list with a plaintive declaration: “Our country’s future hangs on this election.”

Missing from the scroll of 118 Democratic candidates for federal, statewide and legislative races was a single Georgia contender.

That’s a contrast from 2018, when Obama backed four Georgians with his first batch of support. Along with Stacey Abrams and Sarah Riggs Amico, he also vouched for future state Reps. Shelly Hutchinson and Matthew Wilson.

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On the other hand, Politico reports that Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former Georgia state House minority leader Stacey Abrams are getting heavy mention as possible keynoters for the Democratic National Convention.

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Joe Biden’s fundraiser with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, initially scheduled for last week, was moved to Wednesday. Political watchers will be monitoring for clues about his running-mate pick

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In endorsement news: Carolyn Bourdeaux, the Democrats’ nominee in the 7th Congressional District, is usually the one receiving the backing. But she recent announced that she had endorsed three Democratic candidates in runoff races:

-- Keybo Taylor, a candidate for Gwinnett County Sheriff;

-- Nicole Love Hendrickson, who is running for Gwinnett County Commission Chair; and

-- Nikki Merritt, and candidate for the state Senate District 3 seat.

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Mark Taylor, the former lieutenant governor, and his sister have put up for sale the vast gentleman’s quail-hunting estate established by their father just north of Albany, Bloomberg reports. The asking price: $26 million.

Their father, Fred Taylor, was the founder of a trucking firm but also served as chief of staff to Gov. George Busbee. From Bloomberg:

The list of non-family members who visited the ranch is a long, and contains the names of governors, lieutenant governors, and attorneys general. Taylor’s father was chief of staff for George Busbee, who governed Georgia from 1975 through 1982 and was a frequent visitor. So was Griffin Bell, U.S. attorney general under Jimmy Carter’s presidency. Thurbert Baker, Georgia’s first Black attorney general, visited the ranch, as did Henry McMaster, the present governor of South Carolina, and Tate Reeves, now governing Mississippi.

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