Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — who had a private conversation with Greene and has publicly defended her since — declined to comment on the freshman lawmaker’s latest statements, which came on the day the Senate convened its second impeachment trial of Trump, who was charged with inciting the deadly attack.
McCarthy has for weeks been leading his party on a delicate path through the post-Trump political landscape, trying to balance more traditional conservatism with the hard-right bombast emanating from lawmakers such as Greene. McCarthy has signaled that he’s focused on presenting a united front as the GOP seeks to regain control of the chamber in 2022.
The House’s second most powerful Republican, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), also did not respond to Greene’s tweets. Instead, a spokeswoman for Scalise noted the lawmaker’s “strong disagreement” with Greene’s previous remarks and said he “will not be making a practice of responding to every single tweet that members of Congress post.”
A spokesman for Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the House’s third-ranking Republican, who has sparred with Greene, pointed to Cheney’s Sunday interview on Fox News when asked for comment. In it, Cheney acknowledged that some in her party falsely believe that left-wing activists were behind the attack.
“That’s just simply not the case. It’s not true,” Cheney said in the interview. “And we are going to have a lot of work we have to do. People have been lied to.”
Greene began her series of posts by writing: “If the #Jan6 organizers were Trump supporters, then why did they attack us while we were objecting to electoral college votes for Joe Biden? The attack RUINED our objection that we spent weeks preparing for, which devastated our efforts on behalf of Trump and his voters.”
She said that the attackers were “against the government ALL together” and that the storming of the Capitol “was planned and organized, NOT incited in the moment by President Trump.”
In fact, reporting, court documents and the rioters’ own words have shown that many who broke into the people’s house were ardent backers of Trump. One alleged organizer, who was charged with conspiracy, was explicit about why she went to Washington that day: “Trump wants all able bodied patriots to come,” she wrote in a text message cited by court documents.
Greene relentlessly promoted falsehoods about widespread fraud in the November election and has said Joe Biden “stole” the presidency. On social media, she repeatedly plugged the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” demonstration. In one post, she said she needed “a massive grassroots army behind me to STOP THE STEAL.”
Nick Dyer, a spokesman for Greene, said in an email to The Washington Post that the lawmaker “supported the peaceful rally that over 100,000 people attended.” Dyer said Greene was merely posing questions about the insurrectionists’ political leanings and denied she was spreading another false claim.
“And your claim that she claims anything is absolutely ridiculous,” Dyer wrote. “She asked a question. It has a question mark on it and is not a declarative statement. Stop ‘reporting’ things in bad faith and putting words in Congresswoman Greene’s mouth. You are a despicable mouthpiece of the Democrat Party and should stop pretending to be a ‘journalist.’ The American people are sick and tired of your lies. Grow up. Have a great day!”
Even though GOP leaders were mostly silent about Greene’s latest comments, Rep. Peter Meijer (Mich.) called on his fellow first-term Republican to stop spreading falsehoods.
“The #Jan6 organizers were Trump supporters,” tweeted Meijer, who was one of 10 Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment. “They attacked the Capitol to stop the Electoral College certification & interrupt the constitutional transition of presidential power, emboldened by lies about a stolen election and hope they could stop the steal on Jan 6. Enough lies.”
Greene’s latest comments come days after she spoke on the House floor ahead of the vote that removed her from the budget and education committees. In her remarks, she said she regrets her boosterism of QAnon, an extremist ideology that the FBI has deemed a domestic terrorism threat, and her old social media postings, which included approving of the assassination of top Democrats.
“These were words of the past, and these things do not represent me, they do not represent my district, and they do not represent my values,” she said.
After McCarthy’s closed-door meeting with Greene, the GOP leader issued a conflicted statement on Feb. 3, forcefully denouncing her past statements but saying she should face no further punishment.
“I made this clear to Marjorie when we met,” he said. “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. Her past comments now have much greater meaning. Marjorie recognized this in our conversation. I hold her to her word, as well as her actions going forward.”
Greene’s latest comments will again test McCarthy’s appetite for issuing intraparty condemnation. Her implication that the Capitol attackers actually sought to sabotage Republican objections to Biden’s victory resembles her bogus claims that a number of shootings were actually “false flag” events staged to push gun control legislation.
After she lost her committee assignments last week, Greene said the uproar had only emboldened her. She vowed to use her spare time to travel the country and hold Republicans accountable by “pushing them to the right.”
“Going forward,” she said, “I’ve been freed.”