- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 4, 2021

The Democratic-led House stripped Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene off her committee assignments Thursday, saying the Georgia Republican’s past promotion of conspiracy theories and violence against elected officials crossed a line.

The 230-199 vote split largely along party lines, with 11 Republicans joining Democrats in tossing aside an unwritten rule discouraging each party from policing the other’s committee picks.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy criticized the push as a “partisan power grab,” saying Ms. Greene’s comments in no way “represent the values” of the Republican Party.

“This resolution sets a dangerous new standard that will only deepen divisions within this House,” the California Republican said. “Never before in the history of this house has the majority abused its power in this way. Never.”

Mr. McCarthy said the vote smacks of hypocrisy given the way Democrats have turned a blind eye to the incendiary or conspiratorial remarks from their ranks.

Elected in November from Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, Ms. Greene had been assigned to the House Committee on Education and Labor and to the Budget Committee.

House Majority Steny H. Hoyer said Ms. Greene must be held accountable for her previous behavior  — including “liking” a comment on social media in 2019 that said “a bullet to the head would be quicker” to remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“None of us should take any pleasure in what we must do today,” the Maryland Democrat said. “But to do nothing would be an abdication of our moral responsibility to our colleagues, to the House, to our values, to the truth and to our country.”

“No member ought to be able to engage in the behavior that Rep. Greene has and face zero consequences,” Mr. Hoyer said.

The vote capped a noisy few days on Capitol Hill, where Mr. McCarthy’s refusal to discipline Ms. Greene flabbergasted Democrats.

“The party of Lincoln is becoming the party of violent conspiracy theories and apparently the leaders of the House are not going to do a damn thing about it,” Rep. James McGovern, Massachusetts Democrat, said Thursday.

“Anyone who suggests putting a bullet in the head of a member shouldn’t serve on any committee — period,” the Massachusetts Democrat said.

Republicans said the Democratic push undermines President Joseph R. Biden’s calls for unity.

“I would remind the majority that several of their own members have engaged in activities or made comments that Republican members find offensive and inappropriate,” said Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Rules Committee.

“Our friends run the risk of setting off a tit-for-tat exchange of escalating partisan punishment and score settling that could cripple the work of the operation of the House now and well into the future,” he said.

John Feehery, a GOP strategist, said the vote sets a “very dangerous precedent” that could haunt Democrats.

“What goes around, comes around,” Mr. Feehery said. “This will serve to unify most Republicans and will make [Ms. Greene] both a martyr and a huge fundraising draw.”

Republicans said if they take control of the House, then Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Maxine Waters of California could lose their committee seats because of their controversial statements, and Rep. Eric Swalwell’s spot on the intelligence panel could be in jeopardy because of his involvement with an alleged Chinese spy.

Defending herself on the House floor, Ms. Greene said she regrets the social media posts and comments she made about QAnon and various conspiracy theories.

“The problem with that is 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, sporting a “free speech” mask.

“If it weren’t for the Facebook posts and comments that I liked in 2018, I wouldn’t be standing here today and you couldn’t point a finger and accuse me of anything wrong, because I’ve lived a very good life that I’m proud of,” she said.

Ms. Greene said she knows the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the Pentagon “absolutely happened” and said she is being held to a double standard.

“If this Congress is going to tolerate members that condone riots that have hurt American people, attacked people, occupied federal property, burned businesses and cities, and yet wants to condemn me and crucify me in the public square for words I said and regret a few years ago then I think we are in a real big problem,” she said.

“What should we do as Americans, should we stay divided like this? 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?” she said. “I hope not.”

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, former chair of the Black Congressional Caucus, said Ms. Greene’s remarks were “unpersuasive.”

“I have held out hope that she would confront her colleagues and offer a sincere apology and that did not happen,” the North Carolina Democrat said.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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