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As McConnell weighs in on Greene, Dems put GOP on the spot

"Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country," McConnell said as Dems prepared to take action against Greene.
Image: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) wears a "Trump Won" face mask as she arrives to take her oath of office as a member of the 117th Congress in Washington
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., wears a "Trump Won" face mask as she arrives on the floor of the House on Jan. 3, 2021.Erin ScottT / Reuters file

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) didn't reference Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) by name late yesterday, but he didn't leave any doubt as to his intended rhetorical target.

"Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country," McConnell said. After pointing to a few examples of the right-wing congresswoman's crackpot nonsense, the GOP leader said those who believe such ridiculous ideas are "not living in reality."

This was, oddly enough, the first example of a GOP congressional leader denouncing Greene -- or in this case, an extremist matching Greene's description. McConnell's denunciation comes on the heels of a series of reports documenting the Georgia Republican's extremism, including support for violence against U.S. elected officials and theories involving fire-causing space lasers, which Greene, a QAnon adherent, tied to an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

McConnell's statement was not, however, the only notable Greene-related development yesterday. NBC News reported:

Earlier in the day, a group of House Democrats introduced a resolution to remove Greene from her two committee assignments over the inflammatory and false statements. The resolution, sponsored by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch, both of Florida, and Jahana Hayes of Connecticut, would remove Greene from the House Education [and] Labor Committee and the House Budget Committee.

Now seems like a good time to pause and note that House GOP leaders, well aware of Greene's record of extremism, nevertheless chose to give the right-wing congresswoman two plum committee assignments.

It's within the House majority's power to strip the Georgian of these assignments, and the Rules Committee is prepared to take up the resolution as early as tomorrow. It is possible that Rules Committee members would hear from Greene herself, who'd be welcome to appear as a witness, though it's an open question as to whether that would help or hurt her case.

As for the House Republican leadership, a spokesperson for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told Axios one week ago today that the GOP leader intends to have a discussion with Greene about her record. The emailed statement added, in reference to the revelations from a CNN report about Greene endorsing political violence, "These comments are deeply disturbing and Leader McCarthy plans to have a conversation with the congresswoman about them."

Soon after, McCarthy had a conversation with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago. He still hasn't had a meeting with Greene.

In theory, the House minority leader may take action against the first-year congresswoman, stripping her of her committee assignments, just as he did two years ago at this time in response to then-Rep. Steve King's (R-Iowa) ugly record. McCarthy's predecessor as the top House Republican, former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), also stripped former Reps. Duncan Hunter (D-Calif.) and Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) of their committee assignments after their criminal indictments three years ago.

But if McCarthy prefers passivity, Democrats appear eager to force his hand this week.

"It is my hope and expectation that Republicans will do the right thing and hold Rep. Greene accountable, and we will not need to consider this resolution," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a statement. "But we are prepared to do so if necessary."