Controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Booted from House Committees in Extraordinary Show of Disapproval

In an incredibly unusual show of disapproval of one of its members, the House of Representatives on Thursday voted to strip freshman Georgia lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene of all her committee assignments in the wake of escalating controversy of her past support of conspiracy theories, violent rhetoric and other behavior.

The House voted 230 to 199 to remove Greene, 46, from the Education and Budget committees.

"I have never encountered a situation like the one before us now, where a member has made such vile and hurtful statements, engaged in the harassment of colleagues and expressed support for political violence," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a speech Thursday. "None of us should take any pleasure in what we must do today, but to do nothing would be an abdication of our moral responsibility to our colleagues, to the House, to our values, to the truth and to our country."

Eleven Republicans bucked party lines and voted with the Democratic majority to remove Greene from her assigned committees. But the bulk of GOP lawmakers showed their support even as Republican leaders disavowed Greene's behavior to varying degrees.

Some Republicans argued Thursday's vote was more retaliatory than moral and could create a dangerous new dynamic of revenge, with whichever party was dominant in the House undermining the minority party's control of its apportioned committee assignments.

Republicans had declined to voluntarily remove Greene from both of her committees. (There is some precedent for this: Former Rep. Steve King was removed from his committee by Republican leadership because of comments about white supremacy.)

Democrats said Thursday's vote was their recourse.

Without a committee assignment, Greene will see her effective power drastically decrease as a lawmaker.

Wearing a mask that read "Free Speech," she spoke on the House floor Thursday to defend herself ahead of the vote, expressing some remorse although she did not offer an apology for her past remarks.

Saying she was "allowed to believe things that weren't true" because she did not trust mainstream media and instead got much of her news from social media posts, Greene said she regretted some of her past actions: "And that is absolutely what I regret, because if it weren't for the Facebook posts and comments that I liked in 2018, I wouldn't be standing here today and you couldn't point a finger and accuse me of anything wrong because I've lived a very good life that I'm proud of."

Later in her remarks, in a backpedal from some of her most outlandish past actions, Greene said "school shootings are absolutely real," "9/11 absolutely happened" — but, she insisted, "cancel culture is a real thing."

She also pointed the finger at others.

"You see, big media companies can take teeny tiny pieces of words that I've said, that you have said, any of us and can portray us and to someone that we're not, and that is wrong," Greene said. "Cancel culture is a real thing. It is very real. And when big tech companies like Twitter, you can scroll through and see where someone may have retweeted porn. This is a problem."

On Friday she sounded unabashed, tweeting: "I woke up early this morning literally laughing thinking about what a bunch of morons the Democrats (+11 [Republicans]) are for giving some one like me free time."

Greene is an avowed Trump supporter — and campaigned as a provocateur last year in his style — and she was initially most known for espousing support for the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory. (Her representatives have since said she doesn't believe in QAnon.)

Condemnation has steadily grown against Greene since she was sworn into Congress in January, as more and more of her past social media activity and other behavior came to light. For example, as CNN reported, among Greene's pages was a "liked" Facebook comment that called for "a bullet to the head" of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Elsewhere online, Greene had mused about whether a California wildfire was started by a space laser and made various derogatory comments about Muslims and Black and Hispanic people.

Greene later denied personal responsibility for her own Facebook page's activity — or, at least, the most controversial posts. 

"Over the years, I've had teams of people manage my pages," she previously tweeted. "Many posts have been liked. Many posts have been shared. Some did not represent my views. Especially the ones that CNN is about to spread across the internet."

Separately, videos showing Greene repeatedly badgering Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg led many of her colleagues to question why she had been given one of the Republican seats on the Education and Labor Committee.

In one video reportedly filmed in 2019, Greene can be seen following David Hogg, a survivor of the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., as he walks outside near the U.S. Capitol. The now-elected official calls him a "coward" and falsely accuses him of being funded by liberal donors, while Hogg does not engage with her.

"Guess what? I'm a gun owner," Greene says to the camera in the video. "I'm an American citizen. And I have nothing. But this guy with his George Soros funding and his major liberal funding has got everything."

Another video filmed at an unclear date, which appears to be taken inside a government office building, shows Greene following Hogg and asking if he "really thinks red flag gun laws" would prevent mass shootings.

Last week, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Axios the top GOP lawmaker in the House would have a conversations with Greene in light of the posts.

Speaking to CNN after the videos came to light, Hogg said McCarthy should do more than just speak to Greene, suggesting the GOP leader "take all of her committee assignments away."

McCarthy has since told reporter's Greene rhetoric did not align with GOP values but he cautioned against judging her now for that past. Republican senators have spoken out more forcefully against her, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who said she was "not living in reality."

Last week, Speaker Pelosi also slammed the GOP response to Greene's actions, asking "What could they be thinking?" when it came to assigning her to the Education Committee.

"Assigning her to the Education Committee when she has mocked the killing of little children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, when she has mocked the killing of teenagers in high school at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school — what could they be thinking?" Pelosi asked on Thursday. "Or is thinking too generous a word for what they might be doing? It's absolutely appalling, and I think the focus has to be on the Republican leadership of this House of Representatives for the disregard they have for the death of those children."

In a GOP caucus meeting held the night before the vote, some Republican lawmakers reportedly applauded Greene.

The party's treatment of Greene is in stark contrast to how it has handled Rep. Liz Cheney, the House's No. 3 Republican, who has faced calls from within her own party to strip her of her leadership post as a punishment for her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.

The New York Times reports that, in a lengthy meeting held earlier this week, McCarthy stood by both Greene and Cheney, who ultimately did not lose her leadership position after a secret ballot vote showed she had overwhelming support from colleagues.

Source: Read Full Article