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Why Marjorie Taylor Greene’s new rhetoric about Jan. 6 matters

Will Kevin McCarthy comment on Marjorie Taylor Greene’s new rhetoric about the Jan. 6 attack? Don't count on it.


UPDATE (Dec. 12, 2022, 1:27 p.m. ET): This post has been updated to include the White House's response to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's remarks as well as her subsequent statement.

There was no shortage of provocative rhetoric at the New York Young Republican Club’s event on Saturday night, but Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s comments about the Jan. 6 attack stood out for a reason. HuffPost reported:

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) suggested the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol would have been successful if she’d been running the show. “I want to tell you something. If Steve Bannon and I had organized that, we would have won. Not to mention, we would’ve been armed,” she said of the Jan. 6, 2021, attempt by supporters of then-President Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 election, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the New York Post.

A video excerpt suggests the Georgia Republican was not kidding.

In context, the right-wing congresswoman seemed to be responding to speculation that she and Bannon were somehow involved in plotting the attack. To hear Greene tell it, such speculation is wrong — because if she and Bannon had organized the assault on the Capitol, they would’ve brought weapons, and they would’ve succeeded.

In other words, according to the GOP lawmaker, the problem with the insurrectionist rioters was that they weren’t properly organized — or fully armed.

The House Jan. 6 committee is holding its final public hearing on Monday, Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. ET. Get expert analysis in real time on our live blog at

The rhetoric was striking, though it wasn’t altogether surprising. Indeed, Greene’s rhetoric related to political violence has been a staple of her young career.

Circling back to our earlier coverage, just a month into her congressional career, an avalanche of damaging revelations come to the fore: In late January, the public learned of Greene’s record of dismissing 9/11 and school massacres as hoaxes. And harassing at least one survivor of a school shooting. And targeting religious minorities. And peddling bizarre claims about fire-causing space lasers.

Perhaps most importantly, in 2018 and 2019, the Georgia Republican expressed support for violence against Democratic elected officials. This included an instance in which she liked a social-media comment about removing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from office by way of “a bullet to the head.”

The revelations were so jarring that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reportedly proposed removing the extremist lawmaker from one of her committee assignments. For Democrats, this wasn’t nearly good enough: They voted to remove Greene from both.

Nearly two years later, as Republicans prepare to take the reins in the House, GOP leaders, including McCarthy, are prepared to reward the radical Georgian in the new Congress anyway. Indeed, Greene has become an enthusiastic proponent of McCarthy’s bid to become House speaker — not because they’re close allies, but because McCarthy has promised to give Greene the kind of influential role on Capitol Hill that she wants.

She'll use him to advance her ambitions, and he'll use her because he'll need her vote to advance his own ambitions.

All of which leaves us with a question for the current House minority leader: Any chance McCarthy might have a comment about Greene’s Saturday night rhetoric?

Update: The White House was sharply critical of Greene's rhetoric this morning. Andrew Bates, White House deputy press secretary, said the comments were a “slap in the face” to the law enforcement officers who protected the Capitol during the pro-Trump riot.

“It goes against our fundamental values as a country for a Member of Congress to wish that the carnage of January 6th had been even worse, and to boast that she would have succeeded in an armed insurrection against the United States government,” Bates said in a statement. “This violent rhetoric is a slap in the face to the Capitol Police, the DC Metropolitan Police, the National Guard, and the families who lost loved ones as a result of the attack on the Capitol.”

“All leaders have a responsibility to condemn these dangerous, abhorrent remarks and stand up for our Constitution and the rule of law,” Bates added.

Greene added in a statement of her own soon after, “The White House needs to learn how sarcasm works. My comments were making fun of Joe Biden and the Democrats, who have continuously made me a political target since January 6th."

The congressman's lengthy statement also argued, "The only time Democrats 'support' the [Second Amendment] is when armed Antifa larpers want to defend perverts at drag queen story time or when leftist Hollywood celebs and politicians are protected by armed bodyguards."