Republicans Stand by Marjorie Taylor Greene As House GOP Stalls on Taking Action

The GOP is wrestling with how to deal with its most controversial and extreme House member—Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene—as prominent Republicans clash over her range of offensive beliefs.

Past comments made by the Georgia lawmaker have set off an ideological battle in the GOP, which is still trying to decide what path to take after losing the White House and the Senate in November's elections.

Taylor represents the nationalist, populist, conspiracy theory-laden wing of the party that was cultivated by former President Donald Trump and his allies.

Greene has inflamed tensions by—among other things—trying to overturn the presidential election results citing Trump's baseless allegations of fraud. Before taking office, she made comments supporting the QAnon conspiracy theory, made anti-Semitic and Islamophobic statements and called for the execution of Democratic politicians.

Democrats are pushing to strip Greene of her committee assignments, with others threatening to try to expel her from the House entirely.

The controversy has put House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy on the spot, caught between the establishment Republicans wanting to censure Greene and the Trump loyalists who see her extremist views as a legitimate part of the GOP's future ideology.

McCarthy spoke with Greene this week about her conduct, but Democrats, outside groups and some Republicans have demanded more action. Asked on Tuesday if Republican leaders had reached a decision on what to do about Greene, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise told CNN: "No, we're going to be working through some things."

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Andy Biggs is among those backing Greene. He framed criticism of Greene as a Democratic smear campaign. "They seek to silence and discontinue conservative voices, while expanding their progressive, anti-American schemes," Biggs claimed in a statement published by The Washington Examiner.

"The left is aided by their allies in the mainstream media, who issue hours and binders of propaganda from their ivory towers," he added.

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan—a member of the Freedom Caucus who was a staunch ally of Trump—told the Examiner: "What they're trying to do is wrong. I'm focused on the attack that we're seeing today on the First Amendment and this whole cancel culture."

Greene allies and other far-right Republicans have instead turned their ire on Rep. Liz Cheney, the third most senior Republican in the House as conference chairwoman, over her support for Trump's second impeachment.

Top Republicans have expressed support for Cheney while condemning Greene. Without naming her, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell described her type of conspiracy theory-driven extremism as "cancer for the Republican Party and our country."

Sen. Todd Young of Indiana, until recently the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, dismissed Greene as "nutty" and "an embarrassment to our party." He added: "I've got no tolerance for people like that ... In terms of the divisions within our party, she's not even part of the conversation, as far as I'm concerned."

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the Senate minority whip, framed the saga as a decision on the future of the party. "Do they want to be the party of limited government . . . or do they want to be the party of conspiracy theories and QAnon?" he asked.

Other senators have been more hesitant to condemn Greene—despite her peddling 9/11 and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories—reflecting the power of the identity war issues that have driven GOP strategy over recent years.

Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN on Tuesday he would not condemn Greene because he wants to "know what the facts are," adding without any evidence that her past remarks might have been "manipulated."

Greene, meanwhile, has continued to defend herself against what she claims is a smear campaign. The Georgia lawmaker is also using the controversy to fundraise and said she had raised $85,000 within 24 hours of McConnell's remarks.

The congresswoman also warned that any measures to strip her of her committee assignments would set a precedent for future action against her political opponents. "If Democrats remove me from my committees, I can assure them that the precedent they are setting will be used extensively against members on their side once we regain the majority after the 2022 elections," she wrote on Twitter.

Marjorie Taylor Greene objects to presidential vote
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia reads an objection to Michigan's Electoral College vote during a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., early on January 7. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images/Getty