Greene defends remarks on masks, Holocaust

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said early Tuesday that she only compared mask mandates to "discrimination against Jews in early Nazi years," and not the Holocaust, in comments that sparked widespread criticism.

"I never compared it to the Holocaust, only the discrimination against Jews in early Nazi years," Greene said in response to a tweet from conservative podcaster and pundit Ben Shapiro.

Shapiro, who is Jewish, had called Greene's previous analogy about face coverings and the Holocaust "bizarrely nutso" before asking why the press has focused a great deal of attention on Greene's comments instead of what he called "the Squad's de facto support for genocidal anti-Jewish terrorist group Hamas."

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"Stop feeding into the left wing media attacks on me," Greene told Shapiro. "Everyone should be concerned about the squads support for terrorists and discrimination against unvaxxed people. Why aren’t they?"

On Friday, Greene referenced the Holocaust when blasting Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe, eyeing new GOP reinforcements GOP's Banks burnishes brand with Pelosi veto Meghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' MORE (D-Calif.) for requiring all members to wear a mask on the House floor.

“You know, we can look back at a time in history when people were told to wear a gold star, and they were definitely treated like second-class citizens, so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany. And this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about,” Greene said.

The remark sparked backlash from lawmakers, media members and activists.

"Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star," Greene said in a tweet doubling down on a comparison between public health measures and genocide on Tuesday morning. "Vaccine passports & mask mandates create discrimination against unvaxxed people who trust their immune systems to a virus that is 99% survivable."

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The top three House Republican leaders in Congress condemned Greene's comments. Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden administration stokes frustration over Canada Schumer blasts McCarthy for picking people who 'supported the big lie' for Jan. 6 panel Biden's belated filibuster decision: A pretense of principle at work MORE (D-N.Y.) also slammed the Republican congresswoman for her remarks.

“Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling. The Holocaust is the greatest atrocity committed in history. The fact that this needs to be stated today is deeply troubling,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyDemocrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe, eyeing new GOP reinforcements GOP's Banks burnishes brand with Pelosi veto Meghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' MORE (R-Calif.).

Earlier Tuesday, Punchbowl News founder and longtime Capitol Hill reporter Jake Sherman slammed Greene following her tweets Tuesday, which he called "bullshit."

"I’m torn here. Don’t want to give this idiotic act any oxygen, but as a Jew, I feel compelled to point out how disgusting this is," Sherman said. "Nazis murdered 6 million Jews. This kind of bullshit drives me crazy. absolutely crazy."

Greene called Sherman a "lair" and told him to "stop twisting my words."

"If you care about people NOT being discriminated against or being treated unequally then you would use your platform to be against vaccine passports," she said. "Instead you are all in for this sick Socialism just like good little state run media."

Greene has been the source of controversy several times since being elected to the House last year, reportedly working on and then scrapping plans to begin an "America First Caucus" that would have focused on "Anglo-Saxon" political values and floating baseless claims about election fraud and space lasers as a cause for forest fires.

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She has also reportedly and aggressively confronted Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill, prompting some to say they feel unsafe around her or her office.

Following condemnation from Congressional leaders in her own party on Tuesday, Greene said she was "sorry some of my words make people uncomfortable," but added "this is what the American left is all about."

Updated: 12:15 p.m.