To many the name, Laura Loomer might not mean much. But the far-right conspiracy theorist, who is banned from most social media is now one step closer to becoming a member of the US House of Representatives.
Loomer, who has previously worked as a reporter for Alex Jones's notorious website InfoWars, won a Republican primary election to become the party's nomination for Florida's 21st congressional district which is home to Donald Trump's luxury Mar-a-Lago resort and where the president votes.
Indeed, Trump has already backed her in her effort to unseat Democratic congresswoman Lois Frankel, who Trump dubbed a 'Pelosi puppet.'
CBS have reported that despite her victory in the primary, Loomer is unlikely to topple Frankel whose seat is in a staunchly Democratic area and hasn't voted for a Republican since 2013, which would suggest that her chances of making her way to Washington DC are slim.
That being said, stranger things have happened and the fact that Loomer has managed to get this far should be a concern to not just the Democrats but also Republicans, who would appear to be happy to have someone with a notorious rap sheet on their ballot.
Although Loomer only started to gain attention in 2015, she has racked up a list of controversies that would make most individuals ashamed.
Banned from social media and payment processors for Islamophobia.
Between 2017 and 2019, Loomer found herself being banned from a plethora of social media websites, payment processors and transport apps for violating rules on hate speech. These websites and apps included Twitter, Uber, Lyft,PayPal,GoFundMe, Venmo, Instagram, Facebook and Medium. Many of these suspensions relate to Islamophobia and the bans cannot be appealed.
Accused Uber of hiring terrorists
Loomer is unapologetically anti-Muslim. In 2017, following a terrorist attack in New York City, Loomer went on a Twitter rant that blamed Muslims for the incident and called for the aforementioned Uber and Lyft to not employ people who have Islam as their faith after it was revealed that the suspect was a former Uber driver. She tweeted:
Someone needs to create a non Islamic form of Uber or Lyft because I never want to support another Islamic immigrant driver.
After her tweet was reported for hate speech, she added:
Uber will literally hire an Islamic terrorist, but they will ban a conservative journalist for addressing legitimate safety concerns.
She also claimed that women wearing hijabs, who were seen near the scene of the attack were "loving it."
Continuous attacks on Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib
Regular victims of Loomer's outburst are the congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib who she has accused of being 'enemies of the state' and being 'anti-Jewish'. Loomer is Jewish. At a campaign event in August 2018, she heckled the pair asking if they agreed if 'Hamas is a terrorist organization?' and why Omar had 'married her brother?' In a 2019 Instagram post she had also shared a video blaming Omar and all Muslims for the 9/11 attacks.
The baseless theory that Omar wed her brother in order to obtain United States citizenship (Omar was born in Somalia but has lived in the US since she was a child) was spread by Loomer and fellow conspiracy theorist Jacob Wohl and was quickly debunked. However, it didn't stop Loomer and Wohl from trying to doorstop Omar on the issue in her hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, which couldn't have gone much worse for the pair.
Spread conspiracy theories about school shootings
Another favourite pastime of Loomer's is trying to deny school shootings in the United States. In the aftermath of both the Stoneman Douglas High School and Santa Fe High School shootings she claimed the two tragic incidents had been staged. After Santa Fe she tweeted that it was a 'coincidence' that the shooting took place on the same day that there was a 'mass casualty drill at a local hospital.'
The doctor speaking to media outside the hospital in Santa Fe, TX where victims of a school shooting were taken today said they just had a “mass casualty drill” at the hospital around the same time of the school drill. I’m sorry, but I can’t help but notice these “coincidences”
After Stoneman Douglas she pointed the blame at students who were caught up in the horrific event and accused them of reading from notes. She tweeted at the time:
It’s obvious these kids are reading a screen or notes someone else wrote for them. Notice how media is only talking to the same group of students. They aren’t talking to the pro gun ROTC students who actually saved lives, unlike these students.
She had also claimed that crisis actors were deployed after both shootings to try and perpetuate the situation further and convey anguish to the media.
On a similar subject, she had also claimed that Stephen Paddock, the man who killed 59 people including himself in a 2017 massacre in Las Vegas, had ties to both ISIS and Antifa, which proved to be a conspiracy theory.
In October 2018, she also falsely claimed that a man who was suspected of killing 12 people in a bar in Thousand Oaks, California was 'middle eastern.'
Gate crashed a production of Julius Caesar in Central Park
One of the most notorious stunts that Loomer and fellow conservative commentator Jack Posobiec have pulled was when the duo attempted to shut down a performance of William Shakespeare's Julius Caeser in New York's Central Park as it had cast Caesar to look like Donald Trump. As Posobiec filmed, Loomer stormed the stage shouting:
Loomer was escorted from the stage by security and was later charged with misdemeanour, trespassing and disorderly conduct. This incident arguably turned Loomer into an overnight star of controversy and led to her appearing on Fox News as well as receiving donations for the penalties she was facing.
Chained herself to Twitter HQ after being banned
Another infamous moment from Loomer's recent history was when she handcuffed herself to the front door of Twitter HQ in New York in November 2018 after being booted from the website. Loomer live-streamed her entire protest on Periscope for the 27-year-old.
Loomer claimed that she had thrown away the key to the cuffs and wouldn't move until her account was restored. However, police told her that Twitter were not pressing charges but that her account was not being restored leaving her in the potential situation of being stuck to the door forever. After a few hours, she gave up and was cut free from the door.
Called the Women's March a 'Nazi organisation'
Loomer showed up at the 2019 Women's March in Washington DC and attempted to shout over the women speaking at the podium at the event at the protest which started in opposition to Trump's divisive 2016 election campaign but has since evolved to include gender equality and civil rights issues. Loomer's attempt to sabotage last year's event saw her accuse it of anti-Semitism, yelling "The Women's March does not represent Jewish people" as well as accusing it of being a 'Nazi organisation.'
Banned from CPAC
CPAC is the biggest gathering of conservatives in the United States and takes place once a year over the course of a long, long weekend in February. It's not uncommon to hear questionable speeches from those talking at the event so it would take a lot to get banned from there. Amazingly that's exactly what happened to Loomer at the 2019 CPAC after she reportedly used her press credentials to "aggressively harass" other reporters in a practice she likes to call 'Loomering.' Unfortunately for her the guards at the event weren't down with her shenanigans and despite her protests and the fact that 'Don Jr follows me on Instagram' she was ejected.
Whether we'll see any 'Loomering' on Capitol Hill in 2021 remains to be seen but the fact that she has managed to get this far is deeply worrying for the fabric of the United States.