Kristina Malimon was everything the Oregon Republican Party had been praying for.
Last spring, the 28-year-old Southeast Portland financial adviser began speaking at Oregon conservative events, according to her social media accounts. Born in Moldova, she told a story of her family's escape from communism to the U.S.—a welcome rejoinder to Rose City socialists.
At those events, Malimon brushed shoulders with plenty of other Oregon Republicans. In fact, it would be hard not to notice her: She often dresses as if she's attending a black-tie wedding, even when everyone else around her is wearing jeans and flannel shirts.
"She is such an amazing young woman," says Jo Rae Perkins, a former GOP nominee for U.S. Senate who publicly subscribes to the QAnon conspiracy theory. "She blows me away. She is so articulate and smart. And she's the daughter of an immigrant."
Most importantly, Malimon was social media savvy in sharing her devotion to Jesus and Donald Trump. Her Instagram page includes videos of her and others falsely claiming that Trump won the 2020 presidential election by a "landslide" and a photo of Trump overlaid with the words "One of God's Finest Warriors," juxtaposed with images of Bible verses, fashion shoots in Portland high-rises, and sponsored posts for hand cream, phone accessories, activewear and shampoo.
Then Malimon became really famous—just not in a way Oregon Republicans wanted to be associated with.
On Jan. 6, Malimon was arrested in Washington, D.C., following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. She now faces criminal charges along with her mother, Yevgeniya, for "unlawful entry on public property" after the city's mayor instituted a citywide curfew.
Court records show Malimon and her mother were with four other women who refused to depart from the Peace Circle monument on the east side of the National Mall, in between the Capitol Reflection Pool and the U.S. Capitol Building. Beginning at 7:15 pm, a police officer issued three warnings to leave. All six women "did not obey the warnings," court records say. "They were stopped and placed under arrest for violation of mayor's curfew."
There's no evidence Malimon ever set foot in the Capitol. But her Jan. 6 arrest launched Malimon into the public eye. National media outlets seized on her role as an organizer of a Portland "Boaters for Trump" parade that sank a family's boat in the Willamette River last summer. But any biography beyond that was a blank.
That's because few of her colleagues in Portland's conservative circles seem to know much about her.
"Now that I think of it, I don't know what she did before she came to the Young Republicans," says Stephen Lloyd, chairman of the Multnomah County Republican Party and the Oregon Young Republicans. Malimon is a member of both, and the vice chair and national committeewoman for the latter.
She did not respond to requests for comment. Her family declined to speak to this reporter when she arrived at their house.
Lloyd says he also hasn't heard from Malimon since her arrest. "She's unreachable. She might as well be on Mars, for all I know," Lloyd says. "I've been trying to get ahold of her ever since. I want to talk to her more than you."
Malimon's involvement in Oregon conservative politics has been growing for the past year, primarily through social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, where she has nearly 26,000 followers.
Malimon, a longtime Portlander, fashioned herself into an Instagram influencer whose floor-length, gem-colored gowns and stiletto heels offered a break from the bearded, rifle-toting far-right groups that flourish in the Pacific Northwest, like Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys.
By contrast, Malimon's carefully curated social media accounts present anti-democratic extremism through a glamorous filter.
In October, Malimon reposted one video titled "The Great Awakening of America"—a calling card for QAnon—and, in July, an infographic about child sex trafficking alongside hashtags synonymous with the conspiracy theory, including #savethechildren, #q, #wwg1wga, #pizzagate, #pedogate2020, #wayfairgate and #pedoring.
In another post, Malimon posted a picture of herself holding a pink Bible next to the now-infamous photo of Trump holding up a Bible at St. John's Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square in June 2020.
"Figures like Malimon present a friendlier face to MAGA even though their ideologies are often baseless and anti-democratic," says Kate Bitz of Western States Center, which tracks extremism in the Pacific Northwest. "That dynamic is driving the entry [into] conspiracy theories, and it broadens anti-democratic trends."
It wasn't until December 2019 that Malimon uploaded her first overtly political post to Instagram, a photo of herself at a Turning Point USA event in South Florida; before that, her page was mainly about God. Three months prior to that first political post, in September 2019, she made her first federal political contribution to the Republican political action committee WinRed, Federal Election Commission filings show. Since then, she's donated over $3,000 to PACs supporting Trump.
State Sen. Dallas Heard (R-Roseburg) says he first met Malimon in the summer of 2020. When asked by WW, he didn't immediately recognize Malimon's name, but he recalled seeing her at an event in a brightly colored dress.
"The two or three times that I recall speaking with her or listening to her speak, she genuinely seems like a super-sweet, nice person. I'm very troubled to hear that she was arrested," Heard said. "She seems like an intelligent, hardworking, very well-mannered, very sweet disposition, young servant leader."
Malimon regularly draws on her Slavic roots as the reason she opposes the Democratic Party.
In a video posted to her Instagram in October, she tells a story of how her great-grandfather was imprisoned by the KGB and killed at age 29 for refusing to renounce his faith, and how her grandfather was jailed for five years for the same reason.
"You perhaps don't realize what it really means to not have the freedom that America has. I was born in Moldova, which is Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union, which was a socialist country. You are not allowed to believe in a god, you are not allowed to believe in any higher power," Malimon says in the video.
In another video, posted in October to her YouTube channel, Malimon says in Russian that religious freedom in America is under threat.
"My dearest Slavs, we all moved to America for freedom of religion. Many of our great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers died as a result of their religious views," Malimon says in the video, which WW had translated. "Now, in America, there is this moment when freedom of religion is under a big threat and we all need to stand together and vote."
It is unclear when, exactly, Malimon and her family moved from Moldova to Oregon. Multnomah County property records show that her parents purchased their Southeast Portland home in 2005, when Malimon would have been about 13.
The 11,175-square-foot property has a trampoline in the front yard and a metal fence in front of the driveway with a sign affixed that warns to "Beware of the Dog." There is, in fact, a dog: a German shepherd that barks at passersby.
On FEC forms, Malimon wrote as recently as November 2020 that she works in wealth management and digital channels at First Republic Bank.
Despite her day job, Malimon found ample time to travel during 2020.
As the national committeewoman for Young Republicans of Oregon, Malimon in 2020 attended conservative events in Miami Beach, Fla., Keystone, S.D., and Phoenix. In a December video posted by NDT news, Malimon said she volunteered as a poll monitor in Savannah, Ga. Also in December, she attended the Million MAGA March in Washington, D.C. She posed for a photo alongside Roger Stone, whom she congratulated for receiving a pardon. She also took a selfie with Donald Trump Jr. and shot videos within feet of Kimberly Guilfoyle.
In August, Malimon organized the Trump boat parade in the Willamette River. The event garnered national media attention when a family's boat sank amid the swell.
"This is what Portland REALLY looks like when the silent majority shows up!" Malimon posted to her Instagram on Aug. 18, 2020, as a caption to aerial videos of boats festooned with Trump paraphernalia gliding along the river below.
At that same event, Malimon appears in a video wearing a blue dress on a boat and yelling into a megaphone, "Donald Trump is the best president ever! Long live Donald Trump!"
Locally, Malimon has spoken onstage at the Oregon Students for Freedom car rally and a Young Republicans event in October called "Trump Victory Oregon," where Malimon presented a $6,663 check to the Portland Police Association. She also spoke onstage at another election-related indoor event in November and at two different rallies at the state Capitol in the spring and summer, according to social media posts.
Despite her repeated presence at rallies, most Oregon Republicans struggled to recall anything that Malimon did or said.
James Buchal, the former chair of the Multnomah County Republican Party, says Malimon stood out at meetings in part because she's young. "I've seen her in a few meetings, and she's always polite and behaves herself," he said. "There are people who cause trouble in meetings, and she's never caused any trouble."