Marjorie Taylor Greene Compared a Mask Mandate to the Holocaust

And it didn’t go well.
May 24, 2021, 2:14pm
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) speaks at a press conference on the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians on May 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)​
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) speaks at a press conference on the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians on May 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Marjorie Taylor Greene compared being forced to wear a mask at work to the genocide that killed six million Jews, setting off another round of condemnations from within her own party.

But while some of the strongest came from people Greene has feuded with in the GOP, House Republican leaders have been mum on Greene’s latest outburst. 

Greene made the comments last week during an appearance on “The Water Cooler with David Broxy,” a podcast associated with Biden-Ukraine conspiracy columnist John Solomon’s website Just the News. She was especially furious at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to lift a mask mandate in the House, which Republicans have increasingly complained about even though less than half of their members have been vaccinated.

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“This woman is mentally ill,” Greene said, referring to Pelosi. “You know, we can look back in a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star and they were definitely treated like second-class citizens — so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany, and this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.”

Tweeting a video clip of the exchange, Rep. Liz Cheney called Greene’s comments “evil lunacy.” 

Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois called it “absolute sickness.”

Rep. Peter Meijer, another member of the House Republican freshman class, appeared on CNN Sunday and said Greene’s comparison of the Holocaust to the mask mandate was “beyond reprehensible.”

“I don't even have words to describe how disappointing it is to see this hyperbolic speech that frankly amps up and plays into a lot of the anti-Semitism we've been seeing in our society today,” Meijer added.

But Cheney, Kinzinger, and Meijer all represent a marginalized faction of the Republican Party. Cheney was booted from House leadership earlier this month over her public criticism of former President Donald Trump and the direction of the GOP. And during a speech at CPAC in February Trump named Meijer, Kinzinger, Cheney, and the 14 other congressional Republicans who voted for his second impeachment by name and said: “Get rid of ‘em all.” 

The House Republican leadership, which has defended and protected Greene, didn’t address her comments until Tuesday morning.

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On Tuesday, Scalise’s communications director Lauren Fine told VICE News that the congressman “does not agree with these comments and condemns these comparisons to the Holocaust.” The congressman who reportedly once compared himself to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke without the baggage also believes “we need to be speaking out strongly against the dangerous anti-Semitism that is growing in our streets and in the Democrat party, resulting in an alarming number of horrific violent attacks against Jews,” according to Fine.

A Change.org petition calling on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to expel Greene from the conference had racked up more than 48,000 signatures by Monday morning. McCarthy’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from VICE News. On Tuesday, McCarthy tweeted that “Marjorie is wrong.”

“Rep. Greene’s anti-Semitic language comparing the systematic murder of 6 million Jews during the Holocaust to wearing a mask is beyond disturbing,” Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts tweeted Saturday. “She is a deeply troubled person who needs to apologize & resign. @GOPLeader needs to address her antisemitism.”

This article has been updated to reflect Reps. McCarthy and Scalise’s responses.