House votes to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene of committee assignments
11 Republicans back Democratic move to expel Georgia freshman from Education and Labor, Budget panels
The House voted 230-199 on Thursday to remove Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments. Greene had earlier attempted on the floor to distance herself from previous violent and outlandish comments without renouncing them, while also claiming Democrats were out to “crucify” her for speaking her mind.
No Democrat voted against the resolution to expel Greene from House committees. Eleven Republicans broke ranks to support the measure’s adoption: Young Kim of California; Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Gimenez and Maria Elvira Salazar of Florida; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey; Chris Jacobs, John Katko and Nicole Malliotakis of New York; and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.
With the adoption of H. Res. 72, which was introduced by Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Greene will no longer serve on the Budget and the Education and Labor committees. She will still be able to vote and give speeches on the House floor.
Prior to her election to Congress last year, Greene expressed support on social media for the assassination of Speaker Nancy Pelosi; agreed with those who said the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in 2018 was a “false flag” operation; questioned whether a plane hit the Pentagon on 9/11; said President Barack Obama was Muslim; posted a photo of herself on Facebook holding a gun to images of Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib; mused that a space laser aligned with Jewish financial interests caused devastating wildfires in California; and aligned herself with QAnon, a baseless belief about an anti-Trump “deep state” that engages in child sex trafficking and satanism.
Greene on Thursday said “school shootings are absolutely real” and that “9/11 absolutely happened,” which did not contradict her conspiracy theories about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School or her questioning whether a plane hit the Pentagon on 9/11. Saying she was present as a student when a fellow student took her school hostage, she said, “I know the fear that David Hogg had that day.” Among the controversial actions cited by Democrats was video footage of her confronting Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, and calling him a “coward.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy decried Thursday’s move by the Democratic majority as an unprecedented power grab and argued that because Greene’s comments were made before she was a member, the House should not address it.
McCarthy said Democrats would regret their decision to strip Greene of her committee seats.
McCarthy mispronounced “QAnon” and then proceeded to cast aspersion on the behavior of several Democrats. “If the majority party gets to decide who sits on what other committees, I hope you keep that standard, because we have a long list you can work with in your own,” the California Republican said.
In 2019, when Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King made comments sympathetic to white supremacy, McCarthy swiftly ensured he was removed from his committees. He has deviated from that approach regarding Greene. To be clear, King, who lost his bid for renomination from his Iowa district last year, made his comments as a sitting member of Congress.
Pelosi told reporters before the vote she was not concerned about the precedent Democrats were setting by removing a member of the minority party from committees.
“If any of our members threatened the safety of other members, we’d be the first ones to take them off of a committee,” the California Democrat said.
During Greene’s floor speech, which a member of Republican leadership heralded as her taking accountability, the congresswoman asserted that the media was as culpable as the QAnon conspiracy theory in spreading misinformation.
“Will we allow the media that is just as guilty as QAnon of presenting truth and lies to divide us?” Greene asked.
House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said Greene did not “take responsibility” nor did she apologize “for some of the most egregious things that she’s posted and said.”
Greene stressed that the conduct at issue occurred before she became a lawmaker, a point her Republican colleagues also made.
“I never said any of these things since I have been elected for Congress,” she said. “These were words of the past and these things do not represent me.”
Greene also said everyone makes mistakes.
“I believe in God with all my heart, and I’m so grateful to be humbled to be reminded that I’m a sinner and that Jesus died on the cross to forgive me for my sins,” she said. “And this is something that I absolutely rejoice in today to tell you all, and I think it’s important for all of us to remember none of us are perfect.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said Greene “actually held herself to account.”
During his time to speak, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer walked around the floor and made sure his Republican colleagues looked at a poster of the edited photo Greene posted on Facebook of her holding a gun next to images of Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and Tlaib, with the words: “Squad’s Worst Nightmare.” The three members are part of a progressive group of House Democrats informally known as the “squad.”
“This is not about polling. This is not about your base. This is about your conscience and your moral judgment,” Hoyer said. “In other words, each of us will have to look inside our hearts to the answer we know is right and is best for the House and for our country.”
Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., plans to introduce a resolution to expel Greene from the chamber, but it requires a two-thirds majority, which Greene critics are unlikely to muster. His office is in talks with leadership to figure out the most appropriate legislative avenue and timing for introduction, an aide said. It has 69 Democratic co-sponsors.