Top House Republicans on Tuesday condemned freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) after she spent days comparing vaccine and mask requirements to the Holocaust.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — who defended Greene earlier this year when Democrats stripped her of committee assignments for her incendiary rhetoric — called her comments “wrong” and “appalling” and said the GOP conference was behind him.
“Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling. The Holocaust is the greatest atrocity committed in history,” the California Republican said in a statement. “The fact that this needs to be stated today is deeply troubling.”
But the California Republican went on to accuse Speaker Nancy Pelosi of ignoring antisemitic sentiment in her own ranks. Democrats passed an anti-hate resolution in 2019 in response to remarks made by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) that were widely seen as antisemitic, and multiple top Democrats spoke out against Omar at the time. During this spring’s conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas, however, members of Pelosi’s party took notable steps to elevate the rights of Palestinians that broke from decades of unquestioning bipartisan support for the Israeli government.
“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,” McCarthy added.
Similarly, Lauren Fine, a spokesperson for House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, said the Louisiana Republican “does not agree with these comments and condemns these comparisons to the Holocaust.” She added a similar rejoinder to McCarthy’s about bias rising on the other side of the aisle: “We also need to be speaking out strongly against the dangerous anti-Semitism that is growing in our streets and in the Democrat Party, resulting in an alarming number of horrific violent attacks against Jews.”
Greene has refused to back down on her comparisons of mask requirements by House Democratic leaders to the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust. She went further with a tweet on Tuesday morning, comparing vaccination efforts to the Holocaust: “Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.”
Her initial comments were denounced by several Republicans, such as Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who had broken from their party over the impeachment of former President Donald Trump. But Greene’s decision to double down on Tuesday prodded McCarthy and Scalise to finally break their silence.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who previously compared Greene to a “cancer” in the GOP, told a CNN reporter on Tuesday of her latest remarks: “Once again an outrageous and reprehensible comment.”
Greene, who has been a lightning rod for controversy, has already been stripped of her committee assignments for suggesting some of the nation’s deadliest school shootings were a hoax and endorsing social media posts that called for violence against Democrats. But McCarthy and House Republicans stood by her then, arguing that the comments at issue were made before she came to Congress.
Yet Greene has continued to create fresh headaches for her party’s leaders since arriving in Congress as McCarthy has struggled to rein her in. Greene also recently came under fire for harassing Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) over her transgender daughter and aggressively confronting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in the Capitol hallways. That dust-up renewed Democratic calls to expel Greene, but doing so would require support from a two-thirds majority in the House.
Nicholas Wu and Andrew Desiderio contributed to this report.