In late 2021, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene briefly referenced “a National Divorce scenario” that seemed to allude to the dissolution of the United States. About a year later, the Georgia Republican seemed to predict a “national divorce” in response to the CDC adding Covid shots to its list of recommended vaccine schedules.
This morning, as some elected officials released statements recognizing the Presidents’ Day holiday, the right-wing congresswoman published a message to Twitter that steered clear of traditional American patriotism. The missive read in its entirety:
“We need a national divorce. We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government. Everyone I talk to says this. From the sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats to the Democrat’s [sic] traitorous America Last policies, we are done.”
At face value, this isn’t especially surprising. Greene has earned a reputation as one of the most radical members of Congress in recent memory. She’s expressed support for violence against Democratic elected officials, and a year ago, the Georgia Republican appeared at a white-nationalist event. The fact that the congresswoman has endorsed a vision in which Americans “separate by red states and blue states” is entirely in line with everything we know about her.
But let’s not lose sight of the larger context: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and GOP leaders recently rewarded Greene with committee assignments, including a slot on the House Homeland Security Committee. Are Republicans prepared to defend a member of the House Homeland Security Committee openly endorsing the dissolution of the United States?
That’s not a rhetorical question. GOP leaders should let the public know whether they’re comfortable with such a dynamic — and what they’re prepared to do in response if they’re not comfortable with such a dynamic.
Indeed, that’s ultimately what matters most in response to so many of the controversies Greene creates. Her extremism is routine to the point that’s become background noise. Basic American patriotism generally prevents elected officials from endorsing the dissolution of the United States, but we’ve reached the point in our collective history at which members of Congress can publish such messages — which would’ve sparked a genuine scandal in the not-too-distant past — and much of the political world shrugs, seeing it as somehow routine.
With this in mind, it seems as if the focus should be on McCarthy. Her extremism has become predictable, but his responses to her radical vision are still relevant. How comfortable is the House speaker with one of his prominent allies calling for the breaking up of our country? What is he prepared to do about it? Can we feel confident in the work of the House Homeland Security Committee knowing that Greene is on it — and she no longer wants to live in the same nation as many Americans?
“I will never leave that woman,” McCarthy reportedly told a friend, referring to Greene, after his hard-fought struggle to win the speaker’s gavel. “I will always take care of her.”
Does that sentiment have a limit?
Update: Greene posted a follow-up tweet this morning, adding, "Impeach Biden or give us a national divorce." GOP leaders have not yet commented on her rhetoric.