Effort to punish Rep. Greene as Sen. McConnell cites ‘loony lies’

Politics

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell Monday called Republican U.S. House Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s embracement of conspiracy theories “loony lies” and a “cancer for the Republican party.”

There is a mounting effort to formally rebuke Greene, who represents Georgia’s 14th congressional district.

“Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality,” said McConnell, R-Ky. “This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party.”

Dozens of House Democrats are prepared to send a resolution stripping Greene of her committee assignments if the Republican leadership doesn’t do so first.

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz introduced a resolution to remove the newly elected representative from her seats on the education and budget committees of the House of Representatives, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Democrats would vote on the measure if Republicans do not take action themselves to hold her accountable.

The House Rules Committee set a hearing on the measure for Wednesday, indicating it could be on the House floor for a vote later in the week.

Greene warned Democrats not to remove her from the committees, saying on Twitter that Republicans could do the same to Democrats if they gain the House majority in 2022 elections.

“And we will regain the majority, make no mistake about that,” she wrote on Twitter.

In a tweet over the weekend, Greene said she had spoken to Trump and was “grateful for his support.”

“I will never back down and will stand up against the never ending blood thirsty mob,” she tweeted.

“We can’t stop her from speaking,” Wasserman Schultz told an online news conference with two other Democrats, Representatives Ted Deutch and Jahana Hayes. “What we can do though, is essentially render her nearly powerless. That’s what the intent of this resolution is.”

Wasserman Schultz’s approach would require a simple majority vote to pass the House, where Democrats hold 221 seats to Republicans’ 211. That makes the measure far easier to pass than a separate effort, circulated by Democratic Representative Jimmy Gomez, to expel Greene, which would require a two-thirds vote to pass.

Greene has supported false online claims that school shootings were staged, including the 2012 killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Greene first gained national attention for her interest in the QAnon conspiracy theory that falsely claims that high-profile Democrats are part of a child pedophile ring. Facebook videos surfaced last year showing she’d expressed racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim views. Top Republicans denounced her at the time, hoping to block her from capturing the GOP nomination in her reliably red congressional district in northwest Georgia.

Greene appeared to try to backtrack on Monday on some of her previous online comments, telling an interviewer that school shootings were “terrible” but that they did not have to happen if there could be a “good guy” at a school with a gun to protect students.

Hoyer spoke with Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday about the matter, an aide said.

“It is my hope and expectation that Republicans will do the right thing and hold Rep. Greene accountable, and we will not need to consider this resolution. But we are prepared to do so if necessary,” Hoyer said in a comment emailed to Reuters.

A representative for McCarthy said last week he was disturbed by Greene’s comments and planned to have a conversation with her about them. There was no comment from his office on Monday.

Although it’s not certain he will take action against Greene, McCarthy has punished members of the House Republican caucus before. Former Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, was stripped of all his committee assignments after expressing support for white supremacists in 2019.

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report

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