House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) condemned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Wednesday for her long history of supporting violent conspiracy theories but said he would not take action against her despite growing calls she be held accountable for her words.
“Past comments from and endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene on school shootings, political violence, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories do not represent the values or beliefs of the House Republican Conference,” McCarthy said in a statement. “I condemn those comments unequivocally. I condemned them in the past. I continue to condemn them today. This House condemned QAnon last Congress and continues to do so today.”
McCarthy met with Greene amid a spate of reporting on remarks she made or supported before she ran for Congress. Before the election, she supported false claims that the Parkland and Sandy Hook school shootings were staged, “liked” Facebook posts that called for the execution of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and theorized that a giant space laser might have sparked 2018’s deadly wildfires in California.
Democrats have moved to strip Greene of her assignments on the House Education and Labor Committee and the House Budget Committee after calling on the GOP to do so themselves. But such action has not yet been taken, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the chamber would vote on removing the assignments on Thursday, adding that they saw “no alternative.”
The vote will force House Republicans to go on the record regarding Greene’s comments.
McCarthy said Wednesday he “made clear” to Greene that members of Congress must hold themselves to a higher standard than private citizens and said she “recognized this in our conversation.” But the top Republican went on to blame Democrats for their effort to penalize Greene.
“I understand that Marjorie’s comments have caused deep wounds to many, and, as a result, I offered Majority Leader Hoyer a path to lower the temperature and address these concerns,” McCarthy said. “Instead of coming together to do that, the Democrats are choosing to raise the temperature by taking the unprecedented step to further their partisan power grab regarding the committee assignments of the other party.”
Since her election, Greene has castigated other lawmakers in the halls of Congress and has tried to circumvent new safety measures in the U.S. Capitol after the deadly insurrection last month. She has also refused to apologize for her remarks, has laid blame for the controversial posts on aides she says she employed before she ran for office and has regularly claimed in national media that she’s being muzzled.
“Just like every single other person, yeah, I have said things I shouldn’t say at some time or another, but I don’t think I have anything to apologize for,” the lawmaker told Sebastian Gorka, a former Trump White House aide, in an interview Tuesday on the Salem Radio Network.
She’s also used the outrage to amplify her name, gaining tens of thousands of followers on social media and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The comments have caused a schism even within Republican leadership. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Greene’s remarks were a “cancer” on the GOP, dismissing them as “loony lies.”