House Democrats Wednesday moved ahead with stripping committee assignments from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., for her past comments and social media postings endorsing violence against prominent Democrats and touting conspiracy theories that mass school shootings were staged.
Republicans didn’t defend Greene’s comments, which occurred when the freshman rep was a private citizen but opposed the process in which Democrats were trying to remove Greene from power.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., the top Republican on the House Rules Committee, said the removal effort was “premature” and should first go through the House Ethics Committee.
“I find Congresswoman Greene’s comments deeply offensive,” Cole said Wednesday during a Rules Committee hearing on the removal effort. “Using vile, antisemitic slurs, degrading those with special needs, endorsing violence against political leaders, and further victimizing those who suffered unimaginable trauma is absolutely repugnant and it’s unbecoming of any member of Congress.
“However, the action the majority is taking today raises questions that have nothing to do with Congresswoman Greene but concerns the institution as a whole, which is why I feel that this hearing is premature,” Cole continued.
The resolution Democrats advanced Wednesday would strip Greene from her two committee assignments: The Committee on Education and Labor and the House Budget Committee. It would require a vote of the majority of the House on Thursday.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Democrats said they had no choice but to penalize Greene because GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, chose to reward Greene with committee positions and made no effort to strip her of power despite outrage from other prominent Republicans, like GOP Leader Mitch McConnell. Meanwhile, Greene has refused to apologize and instead has launched a fundraising blitz on the promise that she won’t back down to the “radical Democrat mob [that] is trying to silence me.”
Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said since McCarthy is “unwilling or unable to do the right thing,” Democrats have to enforce the standards of decency of Congress.
In a new statement Wednesday, McCarthy said he “condemn[s] those comments unequivocally” from Greene but declined to announce any removal from committee assignments. Instead, he blasted Democrats for choosing to “raise the temperature” by taking the “unprecedented step” of stripping committee assignments from the other party.
McCarthy questioned why Democrats are going after Greene when they “continue to do nothing about Democrats serving on the Foreign Affairs Committee who have spread anti-Semitic tropes, Democrats on the House Intelligence and Homeland Security Committee compromised by Chinese spies, or the Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee who advocated for violence against public servants.”
McCarthy was making references to Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who continue to hold committee assignments over GOP objections.
Typically, party leadership decides the committee slots for their own members. McCarthy, for instance, in 2019 decided to remove former Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, from committee assignments following his remarks panned as racist. While many view Greene’s comments as more serious than King’s since they endorsed political violence, Republicans point out that her comments occurred prior to her election and were not necessarily under the “jurisdiction” of this Congress.
Greene has come under scrutiny for past social media activity where she “liked” posts calling for violence against prominent Democrats, asserted that deadly mass school shootings were staged, and for backing former President Donald Trump’s unproven claims that the presidential election was fraudulent.
Prior to her election in 2020 to a red northwest Georgia district, Greene was already under scrutiny for her past support of QAnon conspiracies and for suggesting that Muslims don’t belong in government. During an interview with Fox News in August, Greene insisted she’s moved on from QAnon, saying “I decided that I would choose another path.”
Democrats took special issue with Greene’s position on the House Education Committee given her conspiracy claims on school shootings and her antagonism of Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg about gun rights.
Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., who represents Parkland, named each of the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 14, 2018. He said Greene’s suggestion that the shooting was a staged false flag event is dangerous and hurtful.
“There are not words in the English language to properly describe how the remarks of Ms. Greene makes these communities feel,” Deutch said.
Greene did not appear at the Rules Committee hearing Wednesday to defend herself, but she shot back at Democrats planning to strip her of committees saying it will free her up to go on a national tour to help elect like-minded conservatives.
“How stupid they are,” Greene told the Washington Examiner Wednesday. “They don’t even realize they’re helping me. I’m pretty amazed at how dumb they are.”
Greene has refused to back down and said she has the support of Trump. She’s been aggressively fundraising off the efforts and announced that she raised $160,000 Tuesday and brought in another $100,000 on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Brian Babin of Texas offered an amendment to try to strip Omar of her Foreign Affairs Committee assignment.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., walks to the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
His amendment failed in the Rules Committee.
The full House is slated to take a final vote on removing Greene from her committee assignments on Thursday.