Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), the new QAnon-affiliated member of Congress under scrutiny for spreading wild and blatantly false conspiracy theories on social media, has come out in favor of legislation that would effectively bar U.S. embassies from flying Pride flags.
Greene announced she’d co-sponsor the legislation, known as the Old Glory Only Act and introduced last month by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-Ga.), in a statement Monday echoing President Trump’s call for “America First” in foreign policy, which has been criticized as xenophobic.
“During my campaign for Congress, I promised that I would always put America First,” Greene said. “That means that only the Stars and Stripes should fly over our embassies in foreign countries. President Biden’s State Department has already raised a flag over our embassies that doesn’t represent the vast majority of Americans.”
Justifying her position in support of the Old Glory Only Act, Greene objects to the idea of U.S. embassies flying Black Lives Matter flags, which she said are symbols amounting to “Hate America Flags.” Last year, the U.S. embassy in South Korea had displayed a Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ Pride flag in June, but was forced to take it down after former President Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were displeased, according to Bloomberg News.
“In the past, rogue members of the State Department flew the flag of the radical Marxist group, Black Lives Matter,” Greene said. “The domestic terrorists represented by that flag have burned down our cities with the mission of defunding our police. We should NOT be flying a flag of a group who wants to erase our history and bring mass destruction to our country through Communism.”
But the Old Glory Only Act would effectively continue a Trump policy barring the display of Pride flags on the same pole as the U.S. flag at U.S. embassies. The one-sentence piece of legislation states, “This bill prohibits the flying of any flag other than the U.S. flag over U.S. diplomatic and consular posts.”
In 2019, the State Department under the Trump administration issued a directive prohibiting U.S. embassies from flying any flag other than the U.S. flag, which effectively barred them from displaying the Pride flag in recognition of June as Pride Month. Trump defenders downplayed the directive by saying the policy only blocked the display of Pride flags on the official flagpole and allowed embassies to display Pride flags and other materials elsewhere.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during his confirmation hearing earlier this month, affirmed he’d reverse the Trump policy and once again allow embassies to fly the U.S. Pride flag. A State Department spokesperson had no comment on the Old Glory Only Act, citing a practice of no comment on pending legislation. The bill has virtually no chance of passing with Democrats in control of both chambers of Congress.
Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality, said Greene’s support for the Old Glory Only Act demonstrates she “wants to hide behind the bill’s fake patriotism to insult the Black Lives Matter movement for racial equality.”
“This shows what we know to be true: intolerance spreads intolerance,” Bromley added. “Old Glory stands taller when it stands with all of us and celebrates the strength of our national diversity.”
Although the Old Glory Only Act doesn’t say anything explicitly about Pride flags, Bromley called the legislation a “hateful bill” and said it was “originally introduced to prevent U.S. embassies from celebrating Pride events by displaying the rainbow flag during Pride month in June.”
“The bill is just a huge distraction,” Bromley said. “Those celebrations never sought to substitute ‘Old Glory’ for the Pride flag – instead, some U.S. embassies sought to honor Old Glory’s promise of unity within our diversity by flying the Pride flag along with our national flag.”
Greene, however, in her statement cast the legislation in a different manner and said the U.S. government “should only be flying the flag that represents ALL people, the American flag.”
“We need to bring back pride in our country and raise the Star Spangled Banner proudly,” Greene said “Old Glory represents our great American military and their sacrifices to ensure our freedom. This isn’t a political issue. This is about patriotism, and we need more of it.”
Among the recently emerged and discredited conspiracy theories Greene has been criticized for spreading are the 2017 Charlottesville white supremacist march being an “inside job,” the 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School being a “false flag” and the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg having used a body double.
According to Media Matters, Greene in 2018 posted on Facebook a conspiracy theory about fires in California that claimed they were the result of a scheme of “space solar generators” involving former California Gov. Jerry Brown and Rothschild & Company. Although Greene didn’t specifically use the term “Jewish space laser,” she was criticized for using that phrase on social media.
Nick Dyer, a Greene spokesperson contacted by email for an inquiry over whether the lawmaker is OK with also banning Pride flags at U.S. embassies, accused the Washington Blade of not reading her statement close enough — even though it doesn’t explicitly mention anything about Pride flags.
“Did you get the press release?” Dyer said. “Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene continues her America First Agenda by cosponsoring Rep. Jeff Duncan’s Old Glory Only Act (H.R. 85), which would ensure that only the American flag flies over U.S. embassies. This bill bans any flag that isn’t the American flag from being displayed.”