LaRouche PAC, a far-right group that supports Donald Trump, has taken credit for trolling Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during a town hall meeting yesterday. An operative with LaRouche made headlines overnight after standing up at AOC’s town hall in Queens yesterday and saying that humanity should eat babies, among other ridiculous things, to address the climate crisis.
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Viral video from the incident shows a woman posing as a supporter of AOC and wearing a shirt that reads, “Save the Planet, Eat the Children.” Many people clearly thought she was mentally disturbed, but LaRouche PAC, a fringe organization that believes climate change is a hoax, was behind the stunt, according to the group’s Twitter account.
“I think your next campaign slogan has to be this: We have got to start eating babies,” the unnamed woman says, according to video captured by C-SPAN.
“I’m so happy that you are really supporting a Green New Deal, but it’s not enough,” the woman told Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez as others in the room looked on in confusion. “Even if we were to bomb Russia, we still have too many people, too much pollution. So we have to get rid of the babies. That’s a big problem. Just stopping having babies is not enough. We need to eat the babies.”
AOC can be seen trying to calm the woman down, repeatedly saying “it’s okay,” and ignoring the comments about babies. While the woman’s reference to “bombing” Russia may seem odd, the group supports both President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“It was us,” the LaRouche organization tweeted late Thursday, in response to a question about whether the woman was serious. “Malthusianism isn’t new, Jonathan Swift knew that. Sometimes, only satire works.”
President Donald Trump got into the fray last night, tweeting “AOC is a Wack Job!” in response to the viral video. Trump likely had no idea that the woman in the video was one of his supporters.
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.
“It is textbook stuff,” Sweet told Gizmodo via Twitter DM, referring to yesterday’s bizarre stunt. “They have been in this game for decades.”
Sweet notes that the group did something similar to 1988 presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, spreading leaflets that he was mentally unwell and had visited a psychiatrist. The campaign made national headlines and Dukakis was forced to release medical records refuting the claim.
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 includes a message about eating children, as well as other more earnest messages in support of Donald Trump.
Gizmodo reached out to LaRouche PAC early Friday but has not heard back. We’ll update this post if we hear anything from the group.
Update, 11:05 am: Here’s video on Facebook, published about 12 hours ago, showing a man out canvassing with an identical “Save the Planet, Eat the Children” t-shirt.
The man doesn’t identify himself as being with Lyndon LaRouche PAC, though the video was shared on the page of “Daniel Burke For U.S. Senate,” who is identified as “an activist with the political movement founded by the late Lyndon LaRouche.”
Correction: This post originally stated the group also had a sign that said “Eat the Children.” Only the group’s t-shirts say “Eat the Children,” as far as we can tell, though other signs from their Facebook photos include signs like “The Green New Deal is Genocide For Africa.” Gizmodo regrets the error.