In the days leading up to Thursday’s scheduled House vote to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her congressional committees, reports emerged depicting an excruciating, intra-party war among Republicans over what to do about the freshman Georgia Republican after new media attention highlighted her old social media activity and statements confirming Greene’s rabid support for executing Democrats, for QAnon, and other hate-filled conspiracy theories. Those unhinged views, of course, were known long before Greene entered Congress. But according to journalists on Capitol Hill, the renewed focus on the GOP’s first QAnon member represented an agonizing new crisis for the party.
But come Thursday afternoon, you could hardly tell. Only eleven Republicans voted for the Democrats’ move to oust Greene from her committees. It was mostly a powerful show of support from some of the GOP’s top officials for someone supposedly ripping their party apart. Despite all the hand-wringing over an existential crisis within the GOP, their votes to protect Greene actually appeared quite a simple task. Still, the resolution passed and Greene was stripped of committee assignments.
This strong defense of Greene from Republicans was something of a foregone conclusion. The day before, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy declined to use his own authority to sanction Greene, and instead accused Democrats of a power grab targeting one of his colleagues. McCarthy insisted that Greene had apologized for her toxic views in a closed-door meeting, a statement which reportedly prompted Republicans in the room to give her a standing ovation.
Whatever contrition Greene may have signaled in private, she remains defiantly opposed to apologizing in public or to making any disavowal of her past endorsements of political violence and unhinged conspiracies. But for too many Republicans, what she said was enough to convince them that they want QAnon and the violent hate associated with it in their party. They’ll even clap for it.