On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 230-199 to strip U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of her committee assignments in response to her promotion of conspiracy theories and past statements expressing support for the assassination of Democratic politicians.
Eleven Republicans voted with the entire Democratic caucus for a resolution to remove Greene from the House Budget and House Education and Labor committees — an unprecedented move against which Republicans promised to retaliate should they ever gain control over the lower chamber.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and fellow Republicans warned in speeches opposing the resolution that Democrats would be setting a precedent that could be used against them in the future by voting to remove Greene from the committees, effectively usurping the ability of the Republican caucus to discipline its own members as it sees fit.
Other GOP members accused Democrats of hypocrisy, saying they failed to discipline Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for anti-Semitic statements, Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) for his alleged involvement with a Chinese spy, and House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) for her call to left-leaning activists to harass Trump administration officials and Republican politicians over policies they find abhorrent, such as the separation of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Prior to the vote, Taylor Greene expressed regret for having “been allowed to believe things that weren’t true,” adding that she made many of her most controversial remarks before she ran for office. She said that she had been “upset about things” happening in the United States, and did not trust the government — or the political establishment that seemed to be blocking much of President Trump’s agenda — when she came across the QAnon conspiracy theory online.
The theory claims that former President Donald Trump was waging a war against a “deep state” consisting of Satan-worshipping child molesters and cannibals — both elected and unelected — ensconced within the ranks of the U.S. government and Hollywood.
She also blamed the media for promoting its own conspiracy theories, including “Russiagate,” the idea that Russia had interfered in a way that significantly influenced the outcome of the 2016 election, saying the media were “just as guilty as QAnon for promoting lies.”
But Taylor Greene walked back many of her past remarks or references to conspiracy theories — including assertions that school shootings, like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 or at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in 2018, were staged; and the claim that no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11 — saying those comments were “words of the past” and do not reflect her current views.
Greene had also previously been criticized by Democrats for promoting anti-Semitic, anti-Black, and anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, claiming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “guilty of treason,” a crime punishable by death, and responding that the “stage is set” in response to a commentator’s question about whether it would be acceptable to “hang” former President Barack Obama.
She also liked comments from other Facebook users that “a bullet to the head would be quicker” to remove Pelosi from office and that FBI agents who were part of the “deep state” should be executed. She also promoted the falsehood that Donald Trump won the 2020 election, and expressed support for the “Stop the Steal” demonstrators who ultimately participated in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
LGBTQ organizations, who have balked at some of Greene’s anti-LGBTQ actions and rhetoric — including her sponsorship of a bill to ban transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports, confronting a local library for hosting a Drag Queen Story Time event, and claiming that Democrats want to eliminate gender roles and “destroy our country” — celebrated the successful House vote.
“Today, the House of Representatives stood up for democracy and voted to hold Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene accountable for her shocking and undemocratic behavior,” Alphonso David, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “While a majority of the House acted urgently to condemn Greene’s disturbing endorsement of political violence and reject her politics of hate and division, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and most House Republicans failed their responsibility to our democracy and our nation.
“Congresswoman Greene has demonstrated a lack of regard for our democracy and its institutions — these consequences today should be the beginning of isolating her and showing the American people exactly what she and those who ally themselves with her believe,” David added, noting that HRC had previously urged McCarthy to remove Greene from the committees before a House vote was called.
“Rep. Greene’s dangerous views do not belong in Congress, or on committees deciding key issues for all Americans,” Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement. “Her anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, her racist beliefs, and her embrace of violent conspiracy theories are more than disqualifying — it puts LGBTQ people at risk, and makes our country as a whole less safe. Americans will note which lawmakers chose truth and safety, and which supported continuing to give Rep. Greene a platform and power in Congress to push disturbing lies and divisive policies.”
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