As a supporter of the QAnon movement, Greene had spread conspiracy theories that included claims that the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas and the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., were hoaxes and that Hillary Clinton mutilated and murdered a child during a satanic ritual. She also endorsed calls for the murders of federal agents and her Democratic colleagues, including giving a “like” when a commenter on her Facebook feed suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) might be removed with “a bullet to the head.”
In a closed Republican caucus held shortly after her talking-to by McCarthy, Greene apologized, claimed she no longer believed in conspiracy theories and got an ovation from her colleagues.
The minority leader expressed confidence that she had learned her lesson and predicted that Greene would hold herself to a “higher standard” now that she was a lawmaker and not a private citizen. Nonetheless, the full House, which has a narrow Democratic majority, voted to strip her of her committee assignments.
Greene, however, continues her bottom-feeding ways, apparently feeling even less constrained now that she has no actual policymaking responsibilities.
In April, it came to light that she had made tentative efforts to set up an “America First Caucus,” which was to be focused on promoting what a draft platform described as “Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”
The most recent controversy she has generated came during an interview on a conservative cable network. She claimed that Pelosi’s requirement that masks be worn in the Capitol, where many House Republicans refuse to say whether they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, echoes the treatment of Jews under the Nazis.
“You know, we can look back in a time in history where 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,” Greene said. “And this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.”
For those latter comments, McCarthy denounced Greene more sternly than he had before, saying “her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling.” His statement was echoed by other top Republicans in the House.
Greene defiantly turned on McCarthy, and retweeted a post by a fan who called the minority leader “a moron,” as well as another word that won’t be repeated here. Though Greene later deleted her tweet, she had made her point that she was not chastened.
This predictable response merely underscored how impotent GOP leaders are in dealing with a figure who thrives on being outrageous and offensive. And along the way, she has raised millions — $3.2 million, to be precise, in the first quarter of the year — in contributions from tens of thousands of people who apparently share her views.
There was a time when Republicans might have stopped this creation of theirs, but it was back when she was still in the lab — or, in this case, running for her party’s 2020 nomination in a reliably red congressional district. Then-President Donald Trump singled her out as a “future Republican Star” and “a real WINNER.”
Though McCarthy denounced the pattern of racist and antisemitic comments that Greene was known even then to have made, he remained neutral in the primary runoff that all but guaranteed she would be joining the House Republican Conference in January. The minority leader’s fear of alienating the Trumpian voters who inhabit the more fetid corners of the Republican base was greater than his sense of duty to the institution that Greene now dishonors.
What all of this has shown is that Republicans must do more than simply denounce Greene. It is time for them to, at a minimum, rally behind censuring her. A resolution to do so is being drafted by Rep. Bradley Schneider (D-Ill.). Republicans should also kick her out of their caucus, as Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) has proposed.
Anything less makes hollow Republican leaders’ efforts to portray Greene as merely a fringe player among their ranks. They created her, and they continue to elevate her.
This is the consequence of seeking power without regard to what else it may bring. To borrow the subtitle from Mary Shelley’s famous novel, Marjorie Taylor Greene is the fruit of Republicans’ own efforts to become the Modern Prometheus.