An extremist pro-Trump political group sent an activist to a town hall event hosted by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to deliver a rant about how people should eat babies to counter climate change. Although it was obvious that the woman who delivered that statement was either unwell or a troll, that didn’t stop right-wing media and the president of the United States from trying to leverage the incident to attack Ocasio-Cortez.
In a video that has gone viral in right-wing circles, a woman at Ocasio-Cortez’s town hall in Queens, New York, stood up and told Ocasio-Cortez: “I think your next campaign slogan has to be this: We have got to start eating babies.” She was wearing a shirt that read “save the planet, eat the children.” Matt Novak reported at Gizmodo that the stunt had been orchestrated by a conspiracy-theory group called LaRouche PAC.
Claims that Democrats eat children are popular among some of the most extreme conspiracy theorists in the right-wing voter base, including those who believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory. Abortion, the conspiracy theorists will often claim, is advanced by Democrats in order to supply babies for politicians to consume. Torture and consumption of children is a central tenet of conspiracy theories like Pizzagate, and some conspiracy believers have committed violence against those they were told participate in such acts—people have been killed.
It was a hardly subtle political stunt, yet it was laundered through right-wing media to bolster claims that the woman speaking to Ocasio-Cortez represented her constituency of concerned climate activists. If we grant the people who did the laundering some benefit of doubt, perhaps they are genuinely senseless enough to take a woman advocating for eating children as a member of the progressive voter base—but it is much more likely the video provided fodder for their outrage political narratives and they simply didn’t care whether it was rational.
The clip was shared online by The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra, who falsely called the planted activist one of Ocasio-Cortez’s “constituents,” as did political operative James O’Keefe. Breitbart News, Gateway Pundit, Infowars, Fox News, and a myriad of far-right and pro-Trump personalities spread the video with suggestions that the woman talking about eating babies was just another Democrat. It was picked up by the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and shortly after that it was blasted across the nation from President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
AOC is a Wack Job! https://t.co/LU3hIeek0c
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2019
The founder of the group responsible for the stunt was notorious for anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. As reported by Matt Novak for Gizmodo:
The connection of this stunt to LaRouche was first noted by London-based Matthew Sweet, author of the book Operation Chaos, which looks at conspiracy theorists of the late 1960s, including Lyndon LaRouche Jr., the late cofounder of the group. LaRouche, who was perhaps best known for his antisemitic conspiracy theories, died this past February. LaRouche claimed that Jews were actually funding the KKK and said that the Queen of England wanted to have him killed.
Aside from yesterday’s outburst, LaRouche PAC has been trying to get “eat children” satire out in other street-level engagements to discredit the environmental movement. The group posted photos to Facebook on October 2 that shows people with signs like “Eat the Children,” as well as other more earnest messages in support of Donald Trump.
In 2010, LaRouche activists were famous for turning up at Tea Party rallies bearing signs featuring images of then-President Barack Obama sporting a Hitler-style mustache. The difference between then and now is that, back then, Republican leaders disavowed them.