Mon. Apr 19th, 2021


Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks during an event held by Moms for America in Washington 5 January
Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks during an event held by Moms for America in Washington 5 January

A US Republican lawmaker whose social media posts have provoked outrage will not be stripped of her committee posts by the party leadership.

House of Representatives Republican leader Kevin McCarthy disavowed Marjorie Taylor Greene’s remarks, but noted they came before she was elected.

Democrats, who control the chamber, said they would vote to expel Mrs Greene from her committees on Thursday.

Republicans are now seeking to expel a Democratic lawmaker from committees.

Mr McCarthy, a California representative, said Mrs Greene’s comments had caused “deep wounds to many”.

“Past comments from and endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene on school shootings, political violence and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories do not represent the values or beliefs of the House Republican Conference,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

“I condemn those comments unequivocally. I condemned them in the past and continue to condemn them today.”

He added: “I made this clear to Marjorie when we met. I also made clear that as a member of Congress we have a responsibility to hold ourselves to a higher standard than how she presented herself as a private citizen.”

But Mr McCarthy accused Democrats of a double standard and of failing to hold their own lawmakers to account.

He alluded to comments by Maxine Waters, a California lawmaker whom critics accuse of stoking violence after she called in 2018 for members of the Trump administration to be publicly harassed.

He also referred to a 2019 anti-Semitism furore that engulfed Minnesota lawmaker Ilhan Omar when she suggested US lawmakers only support Israel because of lobby money.

She apologised, and no action was taken against her. House Democrats voted to condemn anti-Semitism, though their resolution did not name Ms Omar.

Following a meeting with members of his party on Wednesday, Mr McCarthy also backed another beleaguered member of the party, Liz Cheney, reports political outlet Axios.

Ms Cheney of Wyoming, the third-highest ranking Republican, has been facing calls from Trump supporters to be expelled from her leadership role after she broke ranks last month to impeach the former president.

Who is Marjorie Taylor Greene?

Elected to Congress in November, Mrs Greene was assigned to the Education and Labour Committee and the Budget Committee by Mr McCarthy.

Her sympathies for the fringe group Q-Anon were public knowledge when she first ran for a congressional seat in north-west Georgia last year.

Before taking office, she also liked posts calling for violence against Democratic lawmakers, claimed that school shootings and the 9/11 terror attack were staged events, and suggested Muslims should not serve in government, among other comments online.

Her harangue of a teenage survivor of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, was recently unearthed.

Last month, Mrs Greene introduced a measure attempting to impeach US President Joe Biden, accusing him of corruption and abuse of power, which made her a heroine of the party’s pro-Trump wing.

Top Republican lawmakers have been outspoken in their criticism of Mrs Greene’s past comments.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida called her “either deranged or a sadist”. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said she had embraced “loony lies” that were a “cancer” to the party. Senator Todd Young of Indiana called her “nutty” and “an embarrassment”.

Conflicting currents within the Republican Party

Analysis box by Anthony Zurcher, North America reporter
Analysis box by Anthony Zurcher, North America reporter

The House of Representatives is heading toward a showdown on Thursday over the fate of Marjorie Taylor Greene, the freshman congresswoman with a penchant for trafficking in bizarre right-wing conspiracy theories.

Every attempt at reaching some sort of resolution to avoid a floor vote by the whole chamber – an apology by Greene, sanctions imposed by the Republican leadership or some compromise acceptable to Democrats – has been in vain.

The standoff reflects the conflicting currents within the Republican Party. Some, like Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, view Greene as a symptom of the corrosive effects of Donald Trump’s politics. A clear renunciation, then, would be a welcome step away from the ex-president.

Others consider the move to punish Greene only the latest attempt to persecute and silence an outspoken conservative voice. If Greene is sanctioned, they believe the conservative base will see that as caving to liberals and the mainstream media – and revolt.

Democrats, sensing an advantage, are pushing for a very public confrontation, even if some are uneasy about the precedent it might set.

Meanwhile, Greene continues to post eye-popping fundraising numbers and raise her profile – as a hero to some on the right and, perhaps, a martyr.



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