Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) revealed that he has sought advice from “cult deprogrammers” on how best to communicate with his extremist Republican colleagues — and “pull them away” from their alternative realities.
He has told some of those colleagues, “If you guys don’t get out of this, you’re going to be fit when it’s all over only to be selling incense and flowers at Dulles Airport,” Raskin recounted Thursday in Washington, D.C., at a “Truth and Trauma” talk hosted by Georgetown University’s Center on Faith and Justice.
“They’ve abandoned critical thinking skills,” added Raskin, who sits on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
He said deprogramming experts have told him to be “as warm and affectionate and as personable as you can be with them and make them remember what life was like before they got into the cult.”
But “you have to be very emphatic about what the truth is and what facts are versus what is just derangement,” he added.
He pointed to far-right, QAnon-supporting Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) as an example of those in the legislature who are acting more like members of a “religious cult” than lawmakers. Greene was stripped of her committee assignments shortly after taking office last year for her embrace of racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, as well as expressing support for executing prominent Democrats.
She was at risk of being removed from the House earlier this month for bizarrely chanting “Russia hoax” as Raskin announced the referral of criminal contempt of Congress charges against former White House economic adviser Peter Navarro and social media director Dan Scavino for defying subpoenas to appear before the Jan. 6 committee.
Raskin blocked her removal. “Let’s keep her here,” Raskin recalled saying. “In a week when [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s army is raping women and killing them and leaving their bodies in the street, and shooting children, I’d like the world to see that I’ve got Republican colleagues shouting ‘Russia hoax,’ and see where the Trump-Putin axis is taking them.”
Raskin covered current dire threats to democracy in his interview at Georgetown University. He vowed that upcoming hearings on the findings of the investigation into the storming of the U.S. Capitol will “blow the roof off the House.”
Raskin’s discussion about consulting cult deprogrammers begins at 1:13:10.