Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday both condemned Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ongoing efforts to liken pandemic-era public health recommendations to the Holocaust.
Greene’s shocking comparison is just the latest headache for her party, sparked by a congresswoman who has promoted conspiracy theories, spread election lies and verbally harassed her political opponents.
“Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling. The Holocaust is the greatest atrocity committed in history. The fact that this needs to be stated today is deeply troubling,” McCarthy said in a statement.
“Let me be clear: the House Republican Conference condemns this language,” he concluded.
McConnell remarked simply on Greene’s words. “Once again an outrageous and reprehensible comment,” he said.
The House GOP leader also took the opportunity to swipe at Democrats as some in the party have questioned the United States’ historically unwavering support for Israel, claiming that “anti-Semitism is on the rise in the Democrat Party and is completely ignored by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”
While progressive Democrats see similarities between the plight of Muslims in Israel and Palestine and the anti-racism movement in the United States, many Republicans have chosen ― controversially ― to portray any criticism of Israel as antisemitic. And although the FBI has acknowledged a rise in antisemitic crimes against American Jews, leaders of both parties have spoken out to condemn such violence in strong terms.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday said the spikes in violence against Jewish people around the world are “horrific” and “heartbreaking,” and said the problem “demands action.” Responding to McCarthy on Tuesday, Pelosi pointed out that the minority leader “waited days” to address Greene’s comments about the Holocaust, and argued that McCarthy’s “silence” has “spoken volumes about his allegiance to the most extreme elements of the GOP Conference.”
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) also made it clear that he “does not agree with these comments and condemns these comparisons to the Holocaust.” Yet he also made a dubious link between elected Democrats questioning Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and antisemitism.
Earlier on Tuesday, Greene had weighed in on a Tennessee grocery store’s decision to allow vaccinated store employees and customers to go unmasked in the building. Vaccinated employees would have “a vaccination logo” on their name badges, local CBS affiliate WVLT reported. Greene claimed that the vaccination logos were “just like” how “the Nazi’s [sic] forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.”
“Vaccine passports & mask mandates create discrimination against unvaxxed people,” Greene wrote. She had already doubled down on the comparison over the weekend amid criticism that it trivialized an event that killed millions of Jewish people in World War II.
“Equating mask wearing and vaccines to the Holocaust belittles the most significant human atrocities ever committed,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the party’s newly elected House GOP chairwoman.
“We must all work together to educate our fellow Americans on the unthinkable horrors of the Holocaust,” she said.
Greene was stripped of her House committee assignments earlier this year, shortly after being sworn into Congress. However, GOP leadership has declined to formally reprimand her for any of her behavior.
Asked Tuesday whether Greene should be censured or expelled from Congress, Pelosi responded: “I think she should stop talking.”