House Votes to Remove Greene From Her Committee Assignments

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., walks back to her office after speaking on the floor of the House on Thursday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(CN) — The House voted Thursday evening to strip Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments for comments she made before running for office that promoted conspiracies and advocated violence against lawmakers.

The move came after Democrats accused Republican leadership of doing little to nothing in response to the freshman Republican’s past comments promoting the baseless conspiracy QAnon and calling for violence against Democratic politicians. Greene has been in the House a little over a month.

Eleven Republicans joined the Democrat lawmakers in passing the resolution that removed Greene from the House committees on education and the budget, where she was placed by GOP leadership. 

Addressing the House over violent and conspiratorial comments she made before she sought office, embattled Greene said Thursday she no longer believes in those statements and that many of her colleagues only know her from how she’s portrayed in the media.

The Republican lawmaker, who represents the northwestern corner of Georgia, spoke to the chamber earlier in the day as it debated whether to remove her from the House committees.

Democrat lawmakers brought the resolution because Greene previously signaled support for a plethora of controversial views, such as a belief in the violent and baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.

QAnon is a pro-Trump speculation that said the former president was waging a secret conflict against a cabal of pedophiles. The House overwhelmingly condemned the conspiracy in a resolution in October. 

Democrats see the move to strip Greene from her committee assignments as a standard-setting move condemning and handing out a consequence for past calls for violence. Meanwhile, Republicans warn the unprecedented maneuver would open up a future where the majority party could edit the minority party’s committee assignments.

During debate, Republicans accused Democrats of doing nothing when their own members made anti-Semitic comments, for instance.

Many of Greene’s comments were made on Facebook before she ran for Congress.

Wearing a mask with the words “free speech” written across it, Greene said on the House floor, “I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true and I would ask questions about them and talk about them. And that is absolutely what I regret.”

She said her past comments – some of which advocated for the murder of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – were made in the past and they don’t represent her district or her. But she also compared QAnon to the media.

“Will we allow the media that is just as guilty as QAnon of presenting truth and lies to divide us? Will we allow ourselves to be addicted to hate and hating one another? I hope not,” she said.

Congressman James McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts, got up after Greene spoke and said her comments equating the media to QAnon was “beyond the pale.”

Furthermore, McGovern found the comments by Greene saying she believed that 9/11 and school shootings happened wanting.

“I did not hear an apology or a denouncement for the claim of the insinuation that political opponents should be violently dealt with,” McGovern said. “I didn’t hear anybody apologize or retract the anti-Semitic and Islamophobic remarks that have been made, that have been posted over and over and over again.”

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democrat of Florida who introduced the resolution, said during debate that the House must act to limit the hate and future harm that Greene could inflict on the body.

Speaking during a debate over the resolution, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the QAnon ideology was rejected by the House last year and does not represent his Republican Party, and argued the move by Democrats was a power grab.

“Never before in the history of this house has the majority abused its power in this way,” the California Republican said.  

The GOP, McCarthy said, was willing to move Greene from her assignment on the Education and Labor Committee and reassign her to the House Small Business Committee, given her past experience operating a CrossFit gym and her family’s construction company.

But House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, disagreed with the GOP’s proposal, according to McCarthy.

The minority leader said “we have a long list” if the House is holding lawmakers responsible for what they said before they were elected to office.

But in his own remarks, Hoyer said the vote on Greene was not a partisan move, but a principled one against the violent speech she had made. Greene, he said, applauded putting a bullet in the head of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

While on the campaign trail, Hoyer said, Greene posted a photo of herself to social media in September wearing aviator sunglasses and holding an AR-15-style rifle saying she was the “squad’s worst nightmare,” referencing Democratic representatives Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

This photo became a visual aid in the hands of Hoyer, who carried the printed-out picture around the chamber.

Referencing former Republican Rep. Steve King, who was removed from his committee assignments in 2019 for racist remarks he made, Hoyer said, “Should we do less than you did for Steve King for less toxic language?”

Greene did not immediately return an email seeking a request for comment about the results of the vote.

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