GOP has growing Marjorie Taylor Greene problem
First-term Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is increasingly becoming a liability for her GOP colleagues because of a string of controversies that have thrown the conference off message and led to repudiations by Republican leaders.
Greene, a Trump loyalist and a believer of the QAnon conspiracy theory, filed impeachment articles against President Biden on his first full day in office.
She has supported Facebook posts that called for executing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and FBI agents, and in a video that resurfaced this week is seen taunting gun control activist David Hogg a year after he survived the 2018 mass school shooting at his high school in Parkland, Fla.
Democrats are seizing on the controversies, hoping to make Greene the new face of House Republicans.
“Congresswoman Greene’s misconduct has helped radicalize domestic terrorists and endangered the lives of her colleagues and fellow members of Congress,” Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) wrote in a letter asking colleagues to support a resolution to remove Greene from Congress.
“She has broken her oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies and as such is unworthy of the high position of honor and trust reposed in the office,” he wrote.
The controversies are turning up the heat on a GOP already divided over former President Trump’s role in the violent mob attack on the Capitol earlier this month.
A spokesman for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had no comment for this story but pointed to earlier remarks where the GOP leader said he would speak to Greene about her support of posts advocating violence against Pelosi and others.
“These comments are deeply disturbing and Leader McCarthy plans to have a conversation with the Congresswoman about them,” the spokesman said.
McCarthy also said he called Greene last week and told her he disagreed with her decision to file articles of impeachment against Biden on the first day of his presidency, saying it undermined the party’s argument that Democrats’ second impeachment of Trump was purely partisan.
The No. 2 GOP leader, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), who was nearly killed by a gunman in 2017, said he has consistently condemned violent rhetoric in politics: “This is no exception. There is no place for comments like that in our political discourse.”
House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (Wyo.), who has come under criticism from conservatives in her party for her vote to impeach Trump, called the social media posts liked by Greene “repugnant” and has previously called the QAnon movement “dangerous lunacy.”
A two-thirds vote would be needed to oust Greene — a high hurdle given that Democrats control a slim majority in the lower chamber and most Republicans are likely to stand by the Trump ally given his continued hold on the party.
Yet that also means Greene can be used as a weapon by Democrats against Republicans who do not want to be put in the position of having to defend their colleague.
Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), a former National Teacher of the Year, is circulating a letter among colleagues calling on McCarthy to boot Greene off the Education and Labor Committee after revelations that she “liked” disturbing Facebook posts falsely claiming the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax and others calling for a “bullet to the head” of Pelosi and for former President Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and FBI agents in the “deep state” to be hanged. Hayes represents Sandy Hook and Newtown, Conn.
Pelosi herself on Thursday pummeled GOP leaders for handing Greene a seat on the Education panel.
“What I’m concerned about is the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, who was … assigning her to the Education Committee when she has mocked the killing of little children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, when she has mocked the killing of teenagers at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol.
“What could they be thinking? Or is thinking too generous a word for what they might be doing? It’s absolutely appalling,” she said.
For now, there is no indication McCarthy plans to strip Greene of her committee assignment, which is what the leader did to former Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) two years ago after he defended white supremacy.
But it appears that internet sleuths are just getting started in digging into the digital trail of Greene, who owns a construction company with her husband and has never held public office before. On Thursday, the liberal group Media Matters revealed that Greene penned a 2018 Facebook post espousing a wild and false conspiracy theory that California’s deadliest wildfires at the time had been caused by a laser from space. More than 100 people died in the fires in California, McCarthy’s home state.
A day earlier, Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was shot and killed in the Parkland shooting, released a video of Greene confronting and following Hogg outside the Capitol. She later tells Guttenberg she’s usually armed and calls the teenager a “coward.”
Hogg on Thursday called on McCarthy to punish Greene.
“My message to Kevin McCarthy is this: Take her committee assignments away,” he said on CNN’s “New Day.” “Along with that, also, don’t support her when she runs for reelection again and try to get her primaried.”
But McCarthy didn’t heed some of those same warnings last year when Greene was running in the GOP primary to replace retiring Rep. Tom Graves, a respected conservative appropriator who was close to leadership and represented the northwest corner of Georgia.
Scalise backed Greene’s GOP primary opponent, neurosurgeon John Cowan, after Politico reported she had made racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic comments in hours of Facebook videos.
But McCarthy chose not to intervene in the race, even as Georgia Republicans pleaded with him to do so. She defeated Cowan 40 percent to 21 percent and cruised to victory in November in the deep-red district.
In a statement to The Hill on Thursday, Greene made clear she would not back down or apologize for her past words and actions no matter how much pressure is applied by Democrats or the press.
“Democrats and their spokesmen in the Fake News Media will stop at nothing to defeat conservative Republicans,” Greene said in a statement.
“They are coming after me because I’m a threat to their goal of Socialism. They are coming after me because they know I represent the people, not the politicians. They are coming after me because like President Trump, I will always defend conservative values.
“They want to take me out because I represent the people. And they absolutely hate it,” she said.
However, Democrats aren’t the only ones calling for Greene to face punishment. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), an Iraq war veteran and a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force who also voted for Trump’s impeachment, said Greene is “unmoored from truth” and that he also wants to see her kicked off the Education Committee.
She’s “not a Republican,” Kinzinger said Thursday on CNN. “She may be like this new definition of Republican, but that’s kind of a RINO thing, a ‘Republican in name only’ is what she is.”
“I don’t think she should have the privilege of any committees,” he said.
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