Katrina Pierson was a conspiracy theorist long before she worked for the Donald Trump campaign. When the Texas Observer‘s Christopher Hooks first encountered her in 2011, she was touting ‘Agenda 21’ nonsense at a meeting of the Waco Tea Party. For those readers still unfamiliar with this particular bit of goofball fantasy, ‘Agenda 21’ is a nonbinding United Nations sustainable development plan that has been transformed by delusional right wingers into a grand international conspiracy against freedom.
Under the UN’s aegis, she told the frightened crowd, Americans would be forced into crowded apartment buildings, and UN-empowered block captains would be “given police power over your neighborhoods.”
Which sounds silly, but state legislatures have passed actual laws against this contrived threat, and Tea Partiers have scuttled local planning efforts by turning out rabid crowds to shout down county commissioners.
Given her credulous repetition of such nonsense, it’s no wonder Rafael Cruz — the Dominionist father of Ted Cruz — praised Pierson as a “strict constitutionalist” during her failed US Senate primary challenge to Pete Sessions.
But ever since Donald Trump picked her to be his spokeswoman in November, Pierson’s penchant for deranged conspiracy-mongering has earned increased scrutiny and negative attention. Mediate scrolled through her Twitter feed in January, declaring it “a goldmine of embarrassment,” and the nuggets just keep coming to the surface. Former Democratic Party ‘New Media’ Director Greg Greene tweeted this delightful example of the genre today:
Now, you might think that touting a conspiracy theory that is usually associated with the fringe left would be seen as more than a bit dissonant with her role as a Tea Party flack and Republican spokesperson, but this is not the only issue where Pierson is more incoherent and mixed-up than a pasta primavera.
Take her views on race, which bounce from admiring Malcolm X, and excoriating conservatives who smear Trayvon Martin, to speaking in the language of white supremacy.
Or take her new boss, who still appeals to evangelical voters despite being utterly clueless about religion and dissing Pope Francis. None of these gaffes appear to faze his supporters the least little bit, suggesting that religion and ideological purity are actually not very important to them.
In fact, as Washington Monthly‘s web editor Martin Longman notes, “Republican rank-and-file seem impervious to (Trump’s) heresies against the Conservative Movement.”
Trump calls for protective tariffs and opposes free trade. He uses eminent domain and strategic bankruptcy to further his business interests. He clearly fakes his piety in an unconvincing and frankly insulting manner. His private life is nearly the opposite of what the family values crowd espouses. He uses expletives and sexual innuendo (who will protect the children?).
What this calls into question is how much the appeal of conservative ideology has ever really explained the cohesiveness of the Republican coalition. Has it always been more a matter of tribalism and a team mentality? Could it be that what unites them is less free enterprise, retro-Christian values and a strong national defense than a shared antipathy for common enemies?
And there you have it: Katrina Pierson can channel all the batsh*t-insane conspiracy theories she wants without ever being held to account by the Republican Party, or the people who support Donald Trump, because they just don’t care what’s true or even what’s right. They don’t care what we think about Pierson’s lunatic tweets as long as she makes them feel good about the way they hate other people.
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