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What’s funny (and what’s not) about Greene’s ‘Marshall law’ text

It was funny to see Marjorie Taylor Greene misspell "martial law" in a text to the Trump White House, but the message itself was deeply scary.


Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was in court on Friday, testifying in response to an effort to disqualify her from running for re-election. Asked about her efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, Georgia Republican repeatedly struggled to remember her own actions, even when asked whether she urged Donald Trump to invoke martial law in order to claim illegitimate power.

It seemed like the sort of thing someone ought to remember.

Nevertheless, it was of interest why the right-wing congresswoman was even asked such a question in the first place. The explanation came into sharper focus yesterday. NBC News reported:

A new tranche of text messages published Monday between former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and allies of former President Donald Trump, sent in the months after the 2020 election, offers new insight into the efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory. The text messages, which were obtained by CNN, help illuminate how far the Trump White House and its allies secretly tried to go to overturn the 2020 election.

At issue are 2,319 text messages Trump’s former right-hand man shared with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, many of which were posted to CNN’s website yesterday. How the news outlet obtained the materials, some of which have not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, is not yet clear.

Regardless, the texts offer a striking behind-the-scenes look at the scope of the Republican scheming between Election Day 2020 and Trump’s departure from the White House.

But it was a text from Greene that generated headlines for a reason.

On Jan. 17, 2021, the new GOP lawmaker texted the then-White House chief of staff to let him know what she was thinking and hearing from her Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill.

“In our private chat with only Members, several are saying the only way to save our Republic is for Trump to call for Marshall law,” Greene wrote, apparently trying to refer to martial law. “I don’t know on those things. I just wanted you to tell him. They stole this election. We all know. They will destroy our country next. Please tell him to declassify as much as possible so we can go after Biden and anyone else!”

Not surprisingly, there was plenty of chatter yesterday about the congresswoman, who recently confused “gazpacho” and “Gestapo,” referring to martial law as “Marshall law.” It’s easy to understand why folks would have a little fun with this: If a member of Congress is going to talk to the White House about overthrowing the government, the least she can do is reference a dictionary first.

But levity aside, her text to Meadows was incredibly serious. Greene, just two weeks into her tenure as a federal lawmaker, after having sworn an oath to protect and defend the United States Constitution, wanted the White House to know about private conversations in which members of Congress liked the idea of suspending American civil laws and replacing democracy with military rule.

The right-wing Georgian didn’t send this text during the Jan. 6 crisis, when emotions were running high, or even in the immediate aftermath of Election Day, when Republicans were incredulous about the results that were entirely in line with mainstream expectations. Rather, she sent it 11 days after Jan. 6, as Trump prepared to exit the office.

Greene, who’s previously expressed an interest in the radical QAnon delusion, went on to suggest that she genuinely believed the ridiculous conspiracy theories about President Joe Biden’s victory, adding that the proof to bolster her bizarre ideas could be “declassified.”

As best as I can tell, the congresswoman hasn’t yet commented on her text, but if she’s inclined to talk about it, perhaps she could answer a simple question: Which of her GOP colleagues thought martial law would “save our republic”?