After a week off John Oliver came back to his “white void” to unpack the news on Sunday night’s episode of Last Week Tonight, using the announcement of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential pick as a launching pad to talk about the country’s (specifically Republicans) obsession with conspiracy theories.
When Harris was named as Biden’s choice of VP, Oliver said that it “sent conservatives scrambling for attack strategies.” Without fail, Donald Trump questioned her citizen requirements for running for office. Thus begins a depressing resurgence of birtherism. Trumped “jumped all over” this and as Oliver points out, 45 is slow to respond to things like a public health crisis but when it comes to responding to racist conspiracy theories “he is like The Flash on cocaine”.
This dovetailed into conspiracy theories — specifically Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is the heavy favorite to win a congressional seat in a deeply conservative district in Northwest Georgia. In a news clip, we see her praising QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory which Oliver points out is a “range of batshit theories”. He added that many QAnon supporters believe in “a global conspiracy involving a ring of satan-worshipping, child-molesting criminals led by prominent Democrats” including Tom Hanks, Hillary Clinton and the Mexican cement company Cemex. According to QAnon, the main person who is rooting out these “pedophiles” is…you guessed it…Trump. When boiled down, no matter how much the theory evolves, one thing always stays the same: they are protecting 45.
Oliver shared a complicated flow chart that gives us a “taste of how intricately stupid” QAnon is. This extends to QAnon’s slogan, “Where We Go One We Go All” as well as a rap video that gives us all we need to know about the conspiracy theory.
“Greene’s boosting QAnon should be disqualifying in itself,” said Oliver. “Conspiracy theories can be incredibly dangerous but it’s also far from the only odious thing she ever said.” In a news clip, Greene is seen saying racist remarks about Muslims as well as the Black community and Confederate statues. She even goes as far as to say that if she were Black, she would look at Confederate statues and say, “Look how far I have come in this country!”
House Republicans tried to distance themselves from Greene, but they changed their tune once she was elected with prominent Republicans and Trump heralding her victory. “I get that you should be welcoming to your new colleagues, but maybe don’t be that welcoming when they basically accused your co-workers of being satanic child sex ringleaders,” quipped Oliver.
“This should be worrying,” Oliver continued. “It’s bad enough to encounter these conspiracy theories online, [but] it is worse to potentially encounter them in the halls of Congress. I would love to be shocked that the Republican leadership is embracing an ongoing troll with a history of racist comments but the truth is they’ve been doing that for years now because you can only see Greene as a disturbing anomaly if you ignore the basic facts that when it comes to the modern Republican party, ‘Where they go one, they go all'”.
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