Marjorie Taylor Greene removed from House committee assignments
The House voted Thursday to strip controversial Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments. All Democrats and 11 Republicans voted for the measure, despite Republican leader Kevin McCarthy's opposition to it.
In social media posts and videos made before she was elected to Congress, Greene, a freshman from Georgia, embraced a slew of far-right conspiracy theories, including questioning whether deadly school shootings had been staged and whether a plane really hit the Pentagon on 9/11. A supporter of the fantastical QAnon conspiracy theory, she also shared videos with anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim sentiment, and expressed support for violence against Democratic leaders in Congress.
In a press conference on Friday, Greene did say she was "sorry" for her previous comments when asked directly, although she did not apologize for publicly contronting David Hogg, one of the teenage survivors of the Parkland school shooting. She added that committee work would have been a "waste of time," adding that she has "a lot of free time on my hands" to "talk to a whole lot more people and build a huge amount of support."
However, she also said that Republicans who voted to strip her of committee assignments would likely face political repercussions, given that she has the support of former President Trump.
"The party is his. It doesn't belong to anybody else," Greene said about Mr. Trump.
Democrats had slammed her seat on the Education and Labor Committee in particular, given Greene's previous promotion of conspiracy theories related to the Parkland and Newtown school shootings. Although some Republicans have rebuked Greene, there was opposition to stripping her of committee assignments, which carry power since bills are crafted in committees.
McCarthy said Wednesday that he "unequivocally" opposed Greene's comments, but he accused Democrats of a "power grab." On Thursday ahead of the vote, McCarthy said this resolution creates a "dangerous new standard that will only deepen divides."
Other Republicans have likewise condemned Greene's comments but warned Democrats against setting a precedent in which the majority party dictates the minority party's committee assignments.
A handful of the 11 Republicans who broke with the party could face competitive 2022 races. Nicole Malliotakis, Chris Jacobs and John Katko are all from New York, a Democrat-run state that will likely lose a congressional seat during redistricting. Illinois' Adam Kinzinger, who voted yes on impeachment, could be in the same position. Young Kim of California and Maria Elvira Salazar of Florida are in districts President Biden won in 2020.
Congressional Democrats have sought to tie House Republicans to Greene's extremist positions. In a statement on Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office referred to McCarthy as "Q-CA," labeling him the QAnon congressman from California.
Before the vote, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ran ads in Kim's, Fitzpatrick's and Salazar's districts, looking to tie them to QAnon. Fitzpatrick, Upton, Jacobs, Diaz-Balart, Katko and Kinzinger all voted to condemn QAnon in a resolution passed in October 2020.
Democrats have already targeted three of those 11 Republicans in previous cycles: Katko, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Fred Upton of Michigan.
In a speech on the House floor before the vote, Greene said that the terrorist attacks on 9/11 did occur, and that she believes children deserve protection from school shootings.
"These are words of the past and these things do not represent me, they do not represent my district, and they do not represent my values," Greene said. However, she also equated the press to QAnon, saying that the media was just as divisive as the insidious conspiracy theories promoted by QAnon supporters.
Democratic Congresswoman Lucy McBath, whose son was shot and killed in 2012, said in the debate prior to the vote that Greene's "words are beneath the American people."
"This is about a member stalking the children of tragedy, attacking survivors, and threatening violence," McBath said. "This is about a member denying the existence of dead children at Sandy Hook Elementary and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This moment is about parents across America who now celebrate their child's birthday just like me."
At a lengthy meeting of the Republican conference on Wednesday evening, Greene expressed remorse for her previous comments and past support for the QAnon conspiracy theory, according to two sources familiar with the meeting.
At the same meeting, Representative Liz Cheney fended off an effort to have her removed from her House GOP leadership role over her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump for inciting the attack on the Capitol. However, 61 GOP members voted to expel her from leadership, suggesting deep divisions within the Republican caucus over the party's direction moving forward.
House Democrats advanced the resolution calling for Greene's ouster from the committees during a meeting of the House Rules Committee earlier Wednesday, setting up a vote Thursday afternoon in the full House.
The refusal of House GOP leaders to exercise their authority to remove Greene from her committee assignments stands in contrast to their handling of a similar situation in 2019, when the party's steering committee chose to remove then-Congressman Steve King from his committees over comments defending white supremacy.
Aaron Navarro contributed to this report.
for more features.