Max Boot, a Russian-American lecturer, noted conservative commentator and military historian, hit back at Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene after Greene called him a "communist" for expressing his reservations about billionaire Elon Musk possibly buying Twitter.
News outlets reported on the morning of April 14 that Musk made a $43 billion cash takeover offer for Twitter, arguing that the social media company needs to go private if it wants to become a platform for free speech.
In a tweet, Boot said he is "frightened by the impact on society and politics" should Musk actually acquire Twitter and spoke in favor of "more content moderation, not less" if democracy–and free speech–is to survive.
Boot's post prompted a response from Greene, who called him a "communist" because he is "actually scared of people freely discussing ideas and saying words."
As for the impact a possible Musk takeover would have on political discourse, Greene claimed that this is only a concern for Boot because he is afraid of what the platform might look like "when truth isn't censored."
Boot mocked her in response, saying:
"Jewish space laser lady thinks I'm a Communist."
Boots' response refers to one of Greene's more high profile rants.
Last year, Greene was widely condemned for espousing the belief that the 2018 California wildfires were not caused by climate change but some kind of "space laser" that had set the state ablaze.
The term "Jewish space lasers" began to trend on Twitter after one of Greene's older Facebook posts—in which she shared the conspiracy theory—resurfaced.
In it, she said Pacific Gas and Electricity (PG&E) and renewable energy startup Solaren sent solar power generators to space funded by the Rothschilds, a family of Ashkenazi Jewish billionaires who have often been the target of antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Others also criticized Greene.
Twitter has acknowledged that it has received Musk's bid, which comes out to $54.20 a share. The company confirmed in a press release that its board of directors had received the offer and "will carefully review the proposal to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interest of the Company and all Twitter stockholders."
Last week, Musk disclosed a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter that makes him the company's largest shareholder. Prominent conservatives appeared emboldened by the news, particularly because Musk had questioned Twitter's content moderation rules in the days before his disclosure.
At the time, there was significant speculation that Musk would join Twitter's board of directors, a move that would potentially broaden his influence over the platform and its policies.
Republicans, spurred by former President Donald Trump, have often accused Twitter of limiting prominent conservative voices on its platform.
In 2018, while still in office, Trump claimed that Twitter is "SHADOW BANNING prominent Republicans" in response to a news story that alleged accounts owned by Republicans were showing up in a general search of the website but not automatically populating when typing their names in the drop-down bar.
Twitter later issued a response, attributing the issue to a platform bug.