The National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas closed for three days last week because of what they called, “credible threats” from right-wing extremists.

The executive director of the center, Marianna Trevino-Wright says she made the decision a week after an altercation with a Virginia Congressional Candidate who was attempting to trespass on the property. Trevino-Wright recorded audio of her confrontation with Kimberly Lowe:

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It’s complicated (and dumb) but I’ll try to explain. Kimberly Lowe, who’s running for Congress in Virginia was in Texas to attend a MAGA/QAnon rally in McAllen over the past weekend.  She may have been under the impression that her VIP ticket included “a tour of the border with General Mike Flynn”.  On January 21, a full week before the planned rally, Lowe, a friend named “Michelle” who claimed to be a federal agent and some of their children went to the Butterfly Sanction and asked to be shown the part of the property “where the illegals are allowed to come across."

Before meeting them at the front door, Trevino-Wright says, she Googled Lowe and discovered her Qanon connections.  Through the door, Trevino-Wright tells the women they are not welcome. Voices are raised. Accusations of human trafficking and other standard Qanon accusations are made by Lowe. Eventually, there’s some kind of scuffle.

Marianna Trevino-Wright admits that she tried to take a phone out of one of the women’s hands.  She says she “panicked” because she, her children, and the Butterfly Sanctuary have been the targets of threats from Q wackos and far-right conspiracy loons before. You see, the Sanctuary has been in the far-right’s cross-hairs since 2017 when then-President Donald Trump planned to run a section of his border wall through the property. The sanctuary’s parent organization, The North American Butterfly Association sued to stop the wall in 2017 and it’s been at a legal stand-still since then.  But that was enough for We Build the Wall founder Brian Kolfage and Trump adviser Steve Bannon to make wild, “Pizza-gate” style accusations against the sanctuary.

After the confrontation, Trevino-Wright says, she found a picture on social media of Howe and former Texas republican State Rep. Aaron Pena.  Pena got back to her and told her she had reason to be very concerned for her safety. That’s when Marianna says she made the decision to shut the Butterfly Sanctuary down for the three days of the MAGA rally. The sanctuary says all of their employees continued to be paid during the shutdown.

Howe says she was told by rally organizers that she was no longer welcome and that she would be reimbursed for her VIP tickets. I guess that’s how you get too crazy even for a Qanon rally.

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