- The House voted to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments Thursday.
- She will effectively lose her seats on the House Education and Labour Committee and the Budget Committee.
- Greene has faced criticism since reports detailed her public endorsement of political violence.
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The House of Representatives on Thursday voted in favour of a resolution to strip freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, of two committee assignments in response to her promotion of a slew of conspiracy theories and her endorsement of political violence.
Greene will lose her seats on the Education and Labour Committee and the Budget Committee.
The 230-199 vote came Thursday night after members of both parties gave impassioned speeches about the matter. In a surprise to members of both parties, 11 Republicans voted with Democrats in favour of the resolution.
The Republicans who broke ranks were Reps. Carlos Gimenez, Mark Jacobs, John Katko, Young Kim, Adam Kinzinger, Nicole Malliotakis, Maria Elvira Salazar, Mario Diaz-Balart, Chris Smith, Fred Upton, and Brian Fitzpatrick.
Democrats condemned Greene’s endorsement of violence against Democrats and her support of right-wing conspiracy theories, while many in the GOP caucus denounced the resolution as an attempt by Democrats to “cancel” a member of the opposing party.
Thursday’s move comes after several recent news reports that detailed Greene’s endorsement or tacit support of violence against Democrats and other political opponents:
- Mother Jones reported that Greene was the moderator of a Facebook group that had posted several memes advocating executing Democrats.
- CNN reported that Greene had expressed support on her own Facebook page for assassinating top Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
- In January 2019, she liked a Facebook comment saying Nancy Pelosi, who had just become the House speaker after Democrats regained control of the chamber, should get a “bullet to the head,” CNN reported.
- Greene liked other Facebook comments that called for the execution of FBI agents, CNN said.
- In a recently surfaced video, Greene could be seen harassing a survivor of the Parkland school shooting. She’s claimed the tragedy was a false-flag operation.
She’s also drawn scrutiny for promoting racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The left-leaning watchdog group Media Matters for America reported recently that Greene had shared posts on social media about a conspiracy theory claiming that a space laser linked to Rothschild Inc. was responsible for the deadly California wildfires in 2018.
Shortly before the House voted to advance the resolution on Thursday, Greene made a floor speech clarifying some of her comments. She acknowledged, among other things, that the September 11 terrorist attacks actually happened and that “school shootings are absolutely real.” The lawmaker also explained how she “stumbled across” the QAnon conspiracy theory in late 2017.
“And I got very interested in it, so I posted about it on Facebook. I read about it, I talked about, I asked questions about it,” Greene said, adding that “a lot of Americans don’t trust our government, and that’s sad.”
“The problem with that, though, is that I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true, and I would ask questions about them and talk about them,” Greene said.
Referring to her Facebook activity promoting violence against political opponents, Greene said, “I absolutely regret that.” She added that “if it weren’t for the Facebook posts and comments that I liked in 2018,” she would not be faced with losing her House committee assignments.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told his caucus on Wednesday that he supported Greene remaining on both committees. In a statement on Wednesday evening, he accused Democrats of executing a “partisan power grab.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer met with McCarthy on Wednesday to discuss a compromise on the response to Greene, but the two could not come to an agreement. McCarthy offered to remove Greene from the Education and Labour Committee and place her instead on the Small Business Committee, but Hoyer rejected that. Hoyer later said that “it is clear there is no alternative to holding a floor vote on the resolution to remove Rep. Greene from her committee assignments.”
Later Wednesday, the House Rules Committee debated whether to strip Greene of her committee assignments. The chairman, Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern, said he thought that Greene should resign and that stripping her of her assignments was the “minimum” action the House could take.
“We have never had a hearing like this before,” McGovern said. “This is truly sick stuff.”
While most Republicans voted to formally condemn QAnon in a resolution last year, former President Donald Trump has embraced the conspiracy-theory movement, and at least two Republican members of Congress have expressed support for it. Amid the partisan debate over whether to punish Greene, Democrats have sought to paint her and other QAnon-sympathizing Republicans as the face of the GOP.
In a press release on Wednesday, Pelosi referred to McCarthy as “McCarthy (Q-CA).”
“McCarthy’s failure to lead his party effectively hands the keys over to Greene â€” an anti-Semite,QAnon adherent and 9/11 Truther,” Pelosi said in the statement, which included condemnations of Greene from a host of GOP lawmakers.
Many Republicans, including leadership, have criticised Greene’s beliefs and past comments. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell this week called Greene’s “loony lies” a “cancer for the Republican Party.”
“Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no aeroplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s aeroplane is not living in reality,” McConnell said in a statement.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney also denounced Greene, calling her a “kook” and a “wacky weed.”
Other Republican senators have dodged commenting on her altogether. On Tuesday, Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville said he didn’t know anything about Greene because bad weather had prevented him from reading the news.
Many Republicans have argued that the vote on Greene is a slippery slope because it empowers the majority party to strip members of the minority of their committee assignments.
Democrats have said they’re fine with setting a precedent to punish members who voice opinions as dangerous as Greene’s.
“If anybody starts threatening the lives of members of Congress on the Democratic side, we’d be the first to eliminate them from committees,” Pelosi said on Thursday. “They had the opportunity to do so.”
Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert on Wednesday said Democrats would “start a war” with their move. Rep. Brian Babin, also from Texas, proposed a resolution earlier this week to replace Greene’s name with that of Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota.
“If the Democrat Majority wants to go down this road, they should start by dealing with their own members who have been at this before and AFTER their election to Congress,” he tweeted, alluding to the timing of Greene’s incendiary comments before she was elected.
The Republican Party has in the past stripped a member of his committee assignments. In January 2019, Republicans removed Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican, from committees after an interview with The New York Times in which he questioned why white supremacy and white nationalism were considered offensive.