We’ve had a lot of good reminders in recent days about what kind of person Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene really is.
First, there was a Media Matters screenshot dump from last week, showing Greene in 2018 agreeing with a Facebook commenter that the Parkland shooting was a “false flag” and writing that Broward County sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson, who was fired and charged for his response to the shooting, was being “paid to do what he did and keep his mouth shut.” Facebook has since removed the posts.
Then there was CNN’s discovery earlier this week that Greene, again on Facebook, indicated support for executing top Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. CNN also found Facebook posts in which Greene called David Hogg, the Parkland shooting survivor and gun violence activist, “#littleHitler” claimed he was a “bought and paid little pawn.” That post has also been removed.
And then there is the latest reminder of Greene’s heinous behavior: a video resurfaced by Fred Guttenberg, the father of one of the Parkland massacre victims, which shows Greene following and harassing Parkland survivor David Hogg in March 2019. The original video has also been removed from Greene’s Facebook page.
Greene has so far not claimed responsibility for these posts and actions (real surprise there). Instead, she blamed other people who have supposedly been managing her Facebook page for liking comments and said that some of them didn’t represent her views. (She also started deleting lots of posts.)
The heat continued on Wednesday during a town hall in Dalton, GA, when a journalist from a local news station tried to question Greene. Greene said the town hall was for constituents, and then a Whitfield County sheriff’s deputy threatened to arrest the news station crew, and escorted them out.
The mounting calls for Greene’s resignation in response to her conspiracist delusions about the Parkland shooting and support for killing Obama and Pelosi comes weeks after a white supremacist mob stormed the Capitol building, some with the intent to kill Pelosi and former Vice President Mike Pence.
These folks were emboldened by congressional support for former President Trump’s lie that the election was stolen from him, and House Democrats have said just as much, with Missouri Rep. Cori Bush filing legislation to remove House members from office who challenged the certification of the election and California Rep. Jimmy Gomez demanding that Greene and others such as Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley be expelled. Gomez ramped up that call Wednesday evening by introducing legislation to expel Greene.
Of course Greene should be expelled—saying you want your colleagues to be murdered feels like one of those red lines you probably shouldn’t cross in a workplace situation. But the real story here is not about what we didn’t know about Greene before she came to Congress. It’s about what we did know already. The fact is that these comments and videos fall in line with the exact type of schtick she ran on to get into Congress in the first place. They are the kinds of things Republican voters wanted to see, and Greene knew it.
She ran Facebook posts that showed her posing next to Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar, while carrying a rifle, captioning herself as the “Squad’s Worst Nightmare,” and then leaned into it more by raffling off the rifle itself when Facebook removed the image. As reported by Politico, she called Black voters “slaves” to the Democrats, compared the election of Muslim lawmakers like Tlaib and Omar to “Islamic invasion of the U.S. government,” and called George Soros a Nazi. She has an entire hate-watch page from 2019 on the Southern Poverty Law Center website. She was dubbed the QAnon candidate, and she won!
After Jan. 6, there was a feeling in some corners that the GOP was going to do a bit of a purge of its more fanatical members—that here was a moment when the break with MAGA nutjobs would take place, and the establishment would move in. We know now that that was a fantasy. The MAGA grip on the party is as strong as ever, and the establishment is fine with that.
One way we know this is because of what’s happening to Greene in the wake of these new revelations. Now that tsk-tsking at her words and insisting that Greene doesn’t represent them hasn’t worked, Republicans have ramped up their response to instead … give her a stern talking to. From Axios:
What they’re saying: Mark Bednar, a spokesperson for [Kevin] McCarthy, told Axios he is aware of the comments and will discuss them with Greene.
“These comments are deeply disturbing and Leader McCarthy plans to have a conversation with the Congresswoman about them,” Bednar said in an emailed statement.
Between the lines: When McCarthy stripped King, then a Republican congressman from Iowa, of his committee assignments in 2019, he signaled he was setting a threshold for the public comments of his caucus members.
King had wondered publicly why terms like “white nationalism” and “white supremacy” had suddenly “become offensive.”
Whether Greene’s comments cross the same line remains to be seen.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s docile reaction to these developments is a perfect indication of how the GOP’s response to the consequences of their own actions have shrunk since January 6, and that the window of opportunity for the Republicans to be shamed into changing has closed. She isn’t an anomaly within the GOP — she represents them. She is their future, and Republicans are embracing that.