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Image: House Republican Leadership Speak To The Media
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at a GOP news conference on Wednesday. Behind him, from left, Rep. Tom Cole, Minority Whip Steve Scalise and Rep. Kay Granger.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

GOP leaders slam Marjorie Taylor Greene, but add some fine print

Republican leaders could've simply done the right thing, and condemned Greene's garbage, but that apparently would not suffice.


It was last week when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) added to her greatest-hits collection, comparing a mask mandate on Capitol Hill during a pandemic to Nazis forcing Jews to wear gold stars. The right-wing congresswoman insisted the House leadership's masks policies are "exactly" similar to Jews being "put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany."

Soon after, Greene reiterated her Holocaust-focused rhetoric, and she then did it once again this morning.

As we've discussed, the question isn't whether the unhinged Georgia Republican will keep engaging in ridiculous antics; the question is what her party is prepared to do about it. The answer became a little clearer a couple of hours ago.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy joined a quick chorus of outrage at Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., on Tuesday after she doubled-down on her comparison of Covid-19-related rules to the Holocaust.

It took several days, but McCarthy finally issued a written statement calling Greene's Holocaust rhetoric "appalling," adding, "Let me be clear: the House Republican Conference condemns this language." Similarly, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), the #2 Republican in the chamber, added that he "does not agree with these comments and condemns [Greene's] comparisons to the Holocaust."

That's the good news.

The bad news is, House GOP leaders couldn't simply criticize one of their conference's most offensive extremists; they also felt the need to take cheap rhetorical shots at Democrats, too.

McCarthy's statement for example, before saying that House Republicans condemn Greene's language, said, "At a time when the Jewish people face increased violence and threats, anti-Semitism is on the rise in the Democrat Party and is completely ignored by Speaker Nancy Pelosi." Scalise did the same thing, adding this morning, "We also need to be speaking out strongly against the dangerous anti-Semitism that is growing on our streets in the Democrat party."

It's just so tiresome. GOP leaders could've simply done the right thing, and condemned Greene's garbage, but that apparently would not suffice. Because partisanship must be paramount, McCarthy and Scalise were also careful to smear their rivals in the Democratic Party -- which they continue to call the "Democrat Party" because they too often act as if they have the temperaments of spoiled tweens.

Also note, neither McCarthy nor Scalise gave any indication they're prepared to act beyond their perfunctory rebukes. As we've discussed, Greene has already lost her committee assignments -- a step McCarthy and the vast majority of House Republicans tried to prevent -- but the Republican leadership has other options. The minority leader could, for example, recruit and endorse a primary rival. He could announce that she will not have the party's support during her re-election bid. McCarthy could even call for her expulsion.

As things stand, the House GOP leader has issued a blame-both-sides statement that gives no indication of further action. If McCarthy expects this to discourage Greene, she's already proving otherwise.