A violently divided house threw rope Marjorie Taylor Greene away from both committees on Thursday, an unparalleled punishment that Democrats said she had earned by spreading hateful and violent conspiracy theories.
By emphasizing the political lever, her inflammatory commentary has squeezed her party, almost all Republicans voted against the democratic trait, but no one defended her long history of outrageous social media.
Still, the novice Republican took from a deep red corner of Georgia in a riveting moment to the floor of the house on his own. She offered a mix of back pedaling and finger pointing when she wore a dark mask ornament with the words “FREE SPEECH”.
The House’s close party line 230-199 vote was the latest instance of conspiracy theories that became political battlegrounds, an increasingly familiar event during Donald Trump’s presidency. He is facing trial next week for his house persecution for encouraging insurgency after a crowd he ran with his false story of a stolen election attacked the Capitol.
Thursday’s fight also highlighted the uproar and political complexity that Greene – a champion of provoking Democrats, promoting himself and raising campaign money – has led to since becoming a House candidate last year.
In a meeting with his colleagues, Greene tried to distance herself from her “past words”. Contrary to previous social media posts, she said she believes the 9-11 attacks and mass shootings were real and no longer believes in QAnon conspiracy theories, which include lies about democratic pedophile rings.
But she did not explicitly apologize for supporting comments online as she did on other topics, such as when she liked the house’s speaker Nancy Pelosi’s assassination or the possibility that Jewish-controlled space jets caused fires. And she portrayed herself as the victim of unscrupulous “big media companies.”
News organizations “can take small, small pieces of words that I have said, as you have said, any of us and can portray us as someone we are not,” she said. She added that “we are in a really big problem” if the House punished her but tolerated “members who tolerate riots that have harmed the American people” – a clear reference to last summer’s social justice protests which in some cases became violent.
Mr Greene was a member of the Education, Labor and Budget Committees. Democrats were particularly appalled by her assignment to the education panel, given her previous doubts about school shootings in Florida and Connecticut.
The political imperative for Democrats was clear: Greene’s support for violence and fiction was dangerous and deserved punishment. Democrats and researchers said there was no clear precedent for the entire House removing a legislator from a committee, a step usually taken by their party leaders.
The calculation was more complicated for the Republicans.
Although Trump left the White House two weeks ago, his devoted supporters are many among the party’s voters, and he and Greene are allies. Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, hopes that GOP victories in the 2022 election will make him a speaker. Republicans were able to undermine this scenario by promoting Trump’s and Greene’s passionate supporters, and McCarthy took no action to punish her.
“If any of our members threatened the safety of other members, we would be the first to remove them from a committee,” Pelosi angrily told reporters. She said she was “deeply concerned” about GOP leaders’ acceptance of an “extreme conspiracy theorist.”
“The Lincoln party will be the party for violent conspiracy theories, and apparently the leaders of the Republican Party in the House today will not do a damn thing about it,” said Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass.
Republicans trampled cautiously but found rallying points.
McCarthy said Greene’s past views “do not represent my party’s views.” But without mentioning the perpetrators, he said Pelosi had not abolished committee membership from Democrats who became involved in controversies. Among those he implicated were reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Who committed anti-Israel insults for which she later apologized.
“If that’s the new standard,” he said of the Democrats’ move against Greene, “we have a long list.”
Rope. Tom Cole, R-Okla., Said the Democrats set a precedent by punishing lawmakers for statements before they were even candidates for Congress. Rope. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, warned: “You are participating in the wrong speech, you are in the Thunder Dome,” a term for a closed wrestling arena.
Committee assignments are crucial for legislators to formulate legislation that affects their districts, create a national reputation and increase campaign funding. Even social media like Greene could have a hard time defining itself without the spotlights provided by the committees.
Not all Republicans were in forgiving moods, especially in the Senate. There, striped GOP candidates have lost winning races in recent years and leaders worry about a continued connection to Trump and conspiracies will cause more damage.
The House’s minority leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., This week called Greene’s words a “cancer” on the GOP and the country. On Thursday, Senate GOP leader John Thune of South Dakota reinforced that thinking.
Thune said the House Republicans needed to issue a “really strong” reprimand for Greene’s conspiratorial formulations. Republicans must “get away from members who dabble in conspiracy theories,” Thune said. “I do not think it is a productive course of action or one that will lead to much political prosperity in the future.”
The battle came a day after Republicans resolved another battle and voted to keep Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., In their leadership. Pro-Trump conservatives tried to remove her because she supported Trump’s accusation.
The house resolution that punishes Greene was barely over a page. It said house rules require lawmakers’ behavior to “reflect credibly” in the House and that Greene should be removed “in light of the conduct she has shown.”
News organizations have dug up countless videos and “likes” on social media where Greene adopted absurd theories that suspect Hillary Clinton was behind John F. Kennedy Jr. Green’s death in 1999 replied, “The stage is set” when someone raised a question about hanging Clinton and former President Barack Obama.