Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans scramble to unify heading into next election cycle The president has changed, but Washington hasn’t Former Trump officials find tough job market MORE (R-Ky.) on Monday blasted Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s embrace of “loony lies and conspiracy theories” as a “cancer for the Republican Party.”
“Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality,” McConnell said in a statement first shared with The Hill. “This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party.”
McConnell didn’t mention Greene by name in his three-sentence statement, but his rare, scathing remarks about a freshman GOP lawmaker from the other chamber suggests he recognizes the potential damage her violent rhetoric and bizarre conspiracy theories could inflict on congressional Republicans as they try to take back both the House and Senate in next year’s midterms.
McCarthy is set to meet with her in Washington as early as Tuesday. Some Republicans said they did not anticipate McCarthy booting her off the committees given that she has the backing of former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden reverses Trump last-minute attempt to freeze .4 billion of programs Trump announces new impeachment legal team after reported departures Republicans scramble to unify heading into next election cycle MORE, who still holds enormous sway within the GOP.
But McConnell’s comments will up the pressure on McCarthy to act.
If McCarthy punts the issue to Democrats, it could force vulnerable House Republicans in swing districts to take a difficult vote.
“Of course she should be removed. While we can’t prevent her from calling herself a Republican, we can take a stand, and need to,” moderate GOP Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerRepublicans scramble to unify heading into next election cycle Kinzinger launching PAC to challenge GOP’s embrace of Trump Sunday shows – COVID-19 relief dominates MORE (Ill.) told The Hill on Monday evening.
But others fear removing her will further divide the conference, which is already embroiled in a civil war on where to turn next in a post-Trump era.
“It remains to be seen how big of an issue she is long term. She’s had a noisy entrance, but it’s unclear what she will be viewed as and whether she will even be known in the public psyche in Nov. 2022. She’s had a tough transition to Congress. I’m not sure we need to go to the wall on this right now,” one senior GOP lawmaker said.
“To quote Dean Wormer, we may have to put her on Double Secret Probation. … She’s been a member for 30 days. It’s still a little early, and I don’t blame Kevin for not clamping down on somebody at this point. I don’t think you need to strip someone of their committees this early.”
Greene’s mounting controversies have created headaches for top Republicans as Democrats look to brand her as the face of the GOP.
A supporter of the pro-Trump QAnon movement, Greene has supported Facebook posts calling for the execution of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden meeting with GOP senators Monday on coronavirus relief Portman says Republican leadership ‘ought to stand up’ against Greene’s comments Congressional Democrats are on the wrong side of impeachment politics MORE (D-Calif.) and other top Democrats; she has endorsed false and hurtful conspiracy theories that the 9/11 terrorist attacks and mass school shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Parkland, Fla., were hoaxes; and she has embraced another strange conspiracy theory that the 2018 California wildfires were sparked by a laser from space controlled by a powerful Jewish banking family.
Greene told conservative news outlet One America News (OAN) that she is slated to meet with the former president “soon,” adding that he “ he supports me 100 percent.”
Trump’s support of the firebrand freshman is not making their woes any easier.
Top Republicans including Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDanielRonna Romney McDanielRepublicans scramble to unify heading into next election cycle Lou Dobbs knocks ‘petty’ Republicans criticizing Trump GOP chairwoman urged Trump not to form third party on final day in office: report MORE have condemned her remarks.
The comments that are being put forward by Marjorie Taylor Greene are atrocious,” she told The New York Times. “They need to be condemned. They are violent, they are inaccurate — they are very, very dangerous.”
Al Weaver contributed.
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