By Kaitlin Dunn
Elm Staff Writer
On Feb. 4, 2021 the House of Representatives voted to remove Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from the Budget and Education committees in a 230-199 vote. This decision came as a result of Greene’s recent inflammatory language on social media and past instances of similar occurrences.
Greene has a history of supporting debunked QAnon conspiracy theories, such as the false rhetoric that school shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School were staged. She has also supported various antisemitic and Islamophobic conspiracies.
“I really want to go talk to these ladies and ask them what they are thinking, and why they are serving in our American government… They really should go back to the Middle East,” said Greene about Democratic Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Greene represents a side of American politics that emboldens the rise of fringe groups. Her support of QAnon conspiracy theories shows these people that they are correct in their baseless assumptions; that if one of their own can hold public office, then their beliefs are valid.
One can see this in the way that supporters of former President Donald Trump refused to accept the loss of the election — a lie that led to the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6. This tragic event was incited by the refusal of Congressional Republicans to hold Trump accountable for his baseless claims.
Greene supported Trump’s assertion that he won the election and was often seen wearing a mask with the words “Trump Won” written on them, despite numerous facts that supported the contrary.
While Greene has since apologized for her dangerous rhetoric, the fact that some House Republicans voted against removing her from her committees, paired with the language she used after her removal, raises a number of concerns in regard to the Republican Party’s actions.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a public statement that while he condemned Greene’s violent rhetoric, “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.”
Was there a reason that some House Republicans voted against accountability for Greene that goes beyond partisanship? Was it because they would then feel compelled to hold other House Representatives responsible for their seditious rhetoric? Were they afraid of receiving backlash from the far-right fringe groups that support Greene? Or was it because on some level, they agreed with Greene’s lies?
Republicans have been displaying a great deal of actions that put party over country as of late. Voting against Greene’s committee removal, despite her being detrimental to the Republican Party and the U.S., is a perfect example of this.
In a New York Times letter to the editor, Amy M. Ferguson from Dunmore, Pa. said, “As Republicans in Congress allow unhinged pseudo-politicians to go unchecked, their party’s base has become increasingly out of touch with reality. Ms. Greene’s voice on our national stage proves how fragile our democracy remains. Until the GOP has the courage to purge its party of these incendiary figures, our nation’s security and future remain in peril.”
There is a danger that lies in the fact that some Congressional Republicans voted against holding Greene accountable, despite also claiming they do not support the inflammatory rhetoric. Without accountability, Greene would have still been able to use her voice to perpetuate bigotry in Congress.
After being dismissed from her committees, Greene doubled down on her belief that her removal would be detrimental for the Republican Party in the future. She placed the blame primarily on the 11 House Republicans who voted alongside the Democrats to rid her of her committee roles.
“When you have Republicans in the ranks voting against one of their own, opening the door for Democrats to go after every single Republican next. That really is a big betrayal and that could cost us the majority…I hope that my Republican colleagues think about what they’ve done. I’m sure they’re going to hear from their voters at home because the base is loyal to President Trump and the base has been very loyal to me,” Greene said.
Greene is correct in noting the divisiveness of the decision. Following the actions of Jan. 6, where Trump supporters saw former Vice President Mike Pence’s unwillingness to subvert the counting of electoral votes as a betrayal to them and the party, the insurrectionist mob marched on the Capitol with the intention of making Pence pay, essentially turning on one of their own.
The last four years have shown that Trump is not a causation of the problem at hand. Rather, he was a catalyst for the fringe groups that needed a voice. Greene has shown that this is a problem that will not fizzle out with ease or with haste.
Featured Photo caption: Republican House Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene was recently removed from her House committees in response to her spreading of violent rhetoric and dangerous conspiracy theories. Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.