Days after finally electing a House Speaker, the incoming right-wing majority in the House of Representatives installed election-denying Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee (R) atop the Homeland Security Committee.
Green was part of the House Republican Party contingent who voted in January 2021 against the certification of U.S. President Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the presidential elections the previous November. Trump’s lie that the election was “stolen” from him provided the impetus for the coup attempt against the U.S. Capitol on January 6 2021.
In the aftermath of that attack, Green claimed that the bogus claims of “election fraud” were not a factor in his vote. But as the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle reported, Green had invoked that conspiracy theory to justify his vote in the first place; he said in a December 2020 statement:
I tried to sound the alarms for nearly a year in House Homeland Security Committee and Oversight Committee hearings that the increase in mail-in balloting and last-minute changes to election laws could lead to confusion, fraud and distrust.
As the Washington Post reported, new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will depend on elements within his party who pushed the same conspiracy theory:
A significant majority of McCarthy’s 202 votes — 157 — came from election deniers. But with Republicans holding only a slender majority, any Republican seeking to lead the House must garner near-unanimous support from the caucus’s deniers in order to succeed.
McCarthy (R-Calif.) himself embraced false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
More recently, Green traveled to Brazil in September 2021, where he met with lawmakers there to discuss what the New York Times described as “voting integrity policies.” The newspaper reported:
The American Conservative Union paid about $15,000 to send Mr. Green, the Tennessee Republican, according to a lobbying disclosure. His planned agenda included a discussion, over lunch, of voting laws with two Brazilian members of Congress who pushed to change Brazil’s.
Green also spoke at an event that month in the capital city of Brasília hosted by the right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference and organized by Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of then-Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. Despite peddling his own conspiracy theories about the election, the elder Bolsonaro — an ally of Trump during his administration — lost his latest bid for re-election in October 2022 to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The echoes between the right-wing power grabs in the U.S. and Brazil became more concrete on Janury 8 2023, when Bolsonaro supporters took after Trump’s followers and attacked the Brazilian Congress. At least 1,500 people were arrested within 24 hours of this latest coup attempt. Jair Bolsonaro himself was allegedly hospitalized in Florida, where he fled after losing office.