Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene didn’t really apologize. Republicans don’t care.
An overwhelming majority of House Republicans voted against removing Greene from the House Education and Budget committees on Thursday afternoon, rallying to protect a conspiracy theorist who has endorsed political violence.
Democrats prevailed in the vote, however, and Greene will still lose her committee assignments. All 219 Democrats voted to remove Greene from her committee slots, but just 11 Republicans voted along with them, while fully 199 Republicans voted to keep her on her committees.
The vote came shortly after Greene delivered a dizzying House floor speech in which she declined to apologize for her past advocacy of violence while attacking Democrats and the media.
Greene used the speech to publicly state for the first time that the 9/11 terrorist attack was real, and that the Parkland and Sandy Hook school massacres weren’t false flag operations, disavowing her earlier remarks. And she distanced herself from her former support of QAnon, the conspiracy theory that Democrats are involved in Satanic worship and child sex trafficking.
But Greene used the speech to make a number of other attacks. She said that the media are “just as guilty as QAnon of presenting truth and lies to divide us.” She seemed to tie the national debt to abortion, saying, “We're so deeply in debt that our country has murdered over 62 million people in the womb.” And she complained about “cancel culture,” claiming that big tech was censoring her and other religious conservatives for criticizing transgender people.
At no point in her speech did Greene mention or apologize for the multiple times that she had suggested or supported calls for political violence. That includes saying that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “guilty of treason,” a crime “punishable by death,” and liking a Facebook comment that called for a “a bullet to the head” to remove Pelosi from office. Notably, she didn’t reference a conspiracy theory that she boosted that a space laser owned by wealthy Jewish financiers was the cause of California wildfires.
Greene claimed in her speech Thursday that she’d stopped promoting QAnon in 2018, but that’s not true. As recently as Dec. 4, after she’d already been elected to Congress, Greene approvingly tweeted an article that described QAnon as an “objective flow of information” that's “uniting Christians.” She called the article “accurate.”
Democrats were aghast following Greene’s non-apology House floor speech.
“To equate the media to QAnon is beyond the pale,” House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern said after Greene concluded.
Republicans seemed fine with her, though. Immediately after Greene’s speech, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise praised her for giving “a full account of things that she’s done in the past.”
When Greene gave a similar quasi-apology speech to a private House GOP conference meeting on Wednesday night, sources told VICE News that she received a standing ovation from a sizable number of members.
And while no Republicans defended her past comments, they slammed Democrats for daring to go after Greene. Indiana GOP Rep. Jackie Walorski argued that Greene’s fate should be decided by the House Ethics Committee instead of by a House floor vote, even though that’s not the precedent in past cases where members lost their committee assignments.
“This resolution sets a dangerous new standard that will only deepen the divisions within this House,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said, calling it a “partisan power grab.”
McCarthy correctly pointed out that the majority has never voted to remove a member of the House minority from their committees, and warned about the precedent it would set—a legitimate concern. But he didn’t bother mentioning that the vote was happening only because he chose not to remove her from her committee assignments himself.
McCarthy made the opposite choice when he removed then-Iowa Rep. Steve King from his committees in 2020 after King made a number of racist comments. In recent years, McCarthy has also backed other GOP leaders in kicking Republicans off their committees for not being loyal enough to leadership.
It wasn’t a completely partisan vote. The 11 Republicans who voted to remove Greene from her committee were California Rep. Young Kim, Florida Reps. Carlos Gimenez, Maria Salazar, and Mario Diaz-Balart, Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith, New York Reps. Chris Jacobs, John Katko and Nicole Malliotakis, Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. Most of those Republicans are moderates who hail from swing districts where Greene’s rhetoric is damaging to their political futures. That small number tracks closely with the 10 Republicans
Every member of House GOP leadership voted to keep Greene on her committees—including Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, whose vote to impeach President Trump led to a failed attempt from hardliners to force her from leadership.
Cheney said in a statement after the vote that Greene’s opinions “have no place in our public discourse” but that the GOP should handle the issue internally, and called the House floor vote a “dangerous precedent.”
Republicans warned Democrats about payback for removing Greene from her committees. Several members singled out Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has made comments some interpreted as anti-Semitic.
“Who’s next?” asked GOP Rep. Jim Jordan. “You’re going into Thunderdome. Today it’s Ms. Greene, who’s it going to be tomorrow?”