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GOP Thought Steve King Was as Bad as It Got, Then Came Marjorie Taylor Greene

Sam Brodey, Jackie Kucinich
·7-min read
Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty
Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty

When Iowa Rep. Steve King lost re-election in a primary last year, many House Republicans breathed a sigh of relief that their most politically toxic member—one whose open sympathy with white supremacists made him a pariah in the House—was finally jettisoned from their ranks.

His replacement quickly emerged in Georgia: Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The new GOP congresswoman from Georgia’s 14th District arrived on Capitol Hill in January, known to have an on-again, off-again flirtation with QAnon, and a penchant for believing conspiracies about 9/11 and the Sandy Hook shooting. But on Tuesday—less than three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol looking for politicians to kill—CNN’s KFILE revealed that in the past, Greene had publicly supported social media posts that advocated for the murder of Democratic politicians, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

As CNN notes, Greene liked a comment from January 2019 that said "a bullet to the head would be quicker" to remove Pelosi from power.

Many in the GOP who were relieved to see King go are now despondent that they have added someone far more extreme to their ranks—and angry that their leadership did not see this coming. Her brand of extremism has been known to party leadership for months: after an initial raft of racist, Islamophobic comments from Greene were reported by Politico before her primary in June, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) called them “appalling.” But he then did not intervene to stop her victory, and he has since welcomed her into the party’s fold.

On Tuesday, McCarthy’s office told Axios that he planned to “have a conversation” with Greene about the social media posts. But to many in the GOP conference, that is the least he will have to do. “I remember when people said MTG was going to be a Steve King problem,” said one House Republican aide, “and it’s starting to become clear she’s going to be a much bigger problem than that.”

The newly revealed posts were the last straw for Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), who announced Wednesday evening he was filing a motion to have her removed from the House.

“Her very presence in office represents a direct threat against the elected officials and staff who serve our government,” Gomez said in a statement. “It is with their safety in mind, as well as the security of institutions and public servants across our country, that I call on my House colleagues to support my resolution to immediately remove Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from this legislative body.”

The resolution to expel Greene could hit the House floor as soon as Tuesday, according to a Gomez spokesman.

Some Democrats had already endorsed that move, and it’s likely that Gomez will have company for his resolution. On Wednesday afternoon, freshman Rep. Jake Auchincloss (D-MA) tweeted that Greene should resign or else be expelled. “If you don't understand that calling for the murder of political rivals is a threat to democracy,” he said, “you shouldn't be allowed to represent one.”

Through a spokesman, Greene responded by claiming “Democrats and their spokesmen in the Fake News Media will stop at nothing to defeat conservative Republicans” and arguing that she was targeted because “I represent the people.”

Many Democrats still haven’t forgiven Greene for her behavior on Jan. 6, when she was filmed without a mask in a safe room on Capitol Hill during the attack and ignored an offer for a mask. Four people in the room later tested positive for COVID-19. Greene later said in an interview with far-right British commentator Katie Hopkins that antifa was responsible for the Capitol storming—another conspiracy theory, which McCarthy himself took to the House floor to denounce.

The congresswoman’s first real legislative act was to introduce articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden after he was inaugurated—a move that made even many in the GOP privately grimace. She has been assigned to the House Education and Labor Committee and the House Budget Committee, putting her on more favorable terrain than King, who spent his final term stripped of his committee assignments.

Asked Wednesday during a briefing if the White House had a comment on whether Greene should be disciplined in any way for her social media posts, White House press secretary Jen Psaki replied, “We don't. And I'm not going to speak further about her, I think, in this briefing room.”

At a public townhall in her district Wednesday night, after urging supporters to “resist” while Democrats have the majority and “refuse to be told that you can’t say certain things,” Greene railed against the media for what she described as a conspiracy to portray her as a “monster.”

“So for someone like me, they’re going to dig up anything they can to make me sound like a monster and a horrible person. And they’re going to report about that nonstop, but they’re never going to post about the thousands and thousands of really nice Facebook or Twitter posts that I made. Bible verses, praising someone, doing something good... They’re just going to always make sure that someone like me looks like a monster. And that’s wrong. It’s gotta stop.”

A few minutes later, a local reporter who attempted to ask Greene a question was ejected. Meredith Aldis, a reporter with local TV station WRCB, said she and her crew were threatened with arrest and escorted out despite having been invited and credentialed for the meeting. She said reporters were warned they would be thrown out if they asked questions, but she noted to Greene that she was also a “taxpayer” who had the right to speak.

For the past few years, Greene—who has made carrying around guns of all shapes and sizes part of her persona—has been a known quantity for groups that advocate for gun safety. Her tirades at rallies have targeted groups like Everytown and Moms Demand Action and her seemingly self-filmed diary-esque videos, once posted on her Facebook page, frequently promoted conspiracy theories regarding some of the most horrific mass shootings in American history.

Her assertions that school shootings from Parkland, Florida, to Newtown, Connecticut, were false flags have been extensively documented by CNN’s KFILE and Media Matters.

On Wednesday morning, Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was murdered in a school shooting in Parkland in 2018, tweeted a video of Green chasing down and yelling at David Hogg, a Parkland survivor turned gun safety advocate, as he walked up to the U.S. Capitol. The footage, from Greene’s own YouTube page, spread quickly around the internet.

In the months after Parkland, one of many mass shootings she has asserted were “false flags” —that is to say, staged—Greene posted and liked posts mocking Hogg. All have now been removed, according to CNN’s KFILE.

In one undated video, Greene, wearing a black hat with a coiled yellow snake and the words “Don’t Tread on Me,” posits that the shooting in Las Vegas in 2017 was a leftist plot to end gun rights. Another, removed from her social media but unearthed by Media Matters, is less sinister and more bizarre, targeting Moms Demand Action, a gun safety group.

“All these moms that demand action—moms that demand action: You need to grow some balls,” she said in March 2018. “And the problem is you don't have balls. We need dads.”

Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, in a statement on Wednesday called for Greene’s removal.

"Marjorie Taylor Greene should be relegated to Infowars with the other school shooting deniers, not walking the halls of Congress,” she said. “Her reckless words and actions have endangered the lives of her colleagues, survivors of mass shootings, and all Americans. She is dangerous, and needs to go now."

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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