As Trump was arraigned, a strange thing seemed to happen to Marjorie Taylor Greene

Marjorie Taylor Greene has gone from construction company owner to Crossfit competitor and Crossfit gym owner, to member of the US House of Representatives. Photo by House Creative Services. Public Domain

Here’s an odd thing about “arraignment eve”, to use Semafor’s term for the run-up to events surrounding Donald Trump on April 4. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Mr Trump’s most fervent (and whackiest) supporter in Congress, started to sound like a strangely good news story.

Don’t get your hopes up, it was just a teensy weensy bit. Ms Greene sounded slightly more rational, but only every now and then.

Might the part-time gym coach and owner who shot to political prominence by promoting racist conspiracy theories and QAnon-crazed ideas be trying to pivot? Not to becoming less whacky, just more accessible to mainstream media?

If so, why? Why is Ms Greene enjoying a love-in with mainstream media? Is it a sign of something deeper and uglier in American politics? That political extremism is becoming more acceptable, not just within the Republican Party but in the US media ecosystem as a whole?

Perhaps Ms Greene’s recent, slightly less whacky pronouncements are nothing particularly profound. She’s just learning to play the game. As her critics told Semafor’s Kadia Gobha, it may also be “part of an audition to join Trump’s team”.

That said, Gobha’s interview with Ms Greene was interesting for several reasons.

First, the Congresswoman who’s represented Georgia’s 14th district for a scant two years is manifestly engaged in what Gobha calls a “thawing relationship with the press”. This basically means, as Ms Greene herself has noted, that she doesn’t call journalists ‘fake news’ any more. She’s also willing to go over to the other side, in a manner of speaking, by giving interviews to outlets that aren’t right-wing. So she was interviewed on CBS’s 60 Minutes,  “the crown jewel of TV profiles”. She has spoken to Semafor and a slew of other outlets, including TIME, The New York Times and The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Second, Ms Greene herself claimed there’s been a change of heart and rhetoric. She credited it partly to meeting the father and brother of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, telling Semafor she then started to think: “Gosh, what kind of country are we going to become if the press can’t tell the truth? Seeing Julian Assange be extradited by the US government must be pretty scary if you’re a person working in the press because you’re like: ‘Oh, what if you come across a big story?’”

Third, there’s the newly divorced Congresswoman’s relationship with Brian Glenn of the site Right Side Broadcasting Network. She told Semafor: “He’s from the industry, so he is a great resource. He’s explained a lot, like how things work and yeah, it’s great. So maybe I’m falling in love with the press.”

Finally, there is some evidence of a slightly healthier worldview from someone who, until now, bought almost every ugly, racist social media conspiracy that came across the ether. Saying she had given up on all of that, Ms Greene described the incipient advance of common sense: “I started seeing things and I was like ‘um, no’. JFK, Jr. is not alive. Can we just be real?”

{Postscript: Ms Greene apparently had a relapse shortly after her 60 minutes interview and reportedly called President Joe Biden and Democrats “pedophiles”. And she told @Semafor’s Gobha outside Mr Trump’s arraignment hearing, he should still become president even if convicted: “Absolutely. I mean, let’s use Nelson Mandela, for example— a great leader. They arrested him and that was political persecution as well.” So, probably not quite the Easter resurrection one would’ve expected.}