U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a firebrand ally of former President Donald Trump, was broadly denounced by her fellow Republicans on Tuesday for likening COVID-19 masks and vaccinations to the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews.
But the party leadership made no mention of plans to take disciplinary action against her.
House of Representatives Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and his Senate counterpart, Mitch McConnell, both rejected the Georgia Republican’s comments after she compared masks to the badges worn by Jews before their mass murder by Nazi Germany before and during World War Two.
Even after facing criticism, Greene described a supermarket chain’s plan to identify vaccinated employees in the same light.
“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 fact that this needs to be stated today is deeply troubling,” McCarthy said in a statement.
“Let me be clear: the House Republican Conference condemns this language,” he said.
McConnell told reporters: “This is one of the frequent outbursts that are absolutely outrageous and reprehensible.”
Condemnation also poured in from rank-and-file Republicans as well as Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who told reporters: “It’s so beyond reprehensible that it, I mean, it has no place in our country.”
Greene’s comments came at a time when Republicans are trying to put themselves forward as defenders of the Jewish community and accusing Democrats of making antisemitic remarks. McConnell, who previously described Greene as a “cancer” on the Republican Party, has unveiled new legislation to address antisemitism and attacks on American Jews.
The United States has experienced a spate of physical or verbal attacks against Jews in New York, Los Angeles and South Florida, amid an escalation earlier this month of the conflict between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
The controversy over Greene is also the latest eruption among Republicans in the House, where McCarthy and other party leaders have sought to forge unity after ousting fellow Representative Liz Cheney from her No. 3 leadership role for denouncing Trump’s false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.
Statements from McCarthy and McConnell followed a Tuesday rant on Twitter by Greene, who tweeted photos of herself in public settings with signs showing support for Israel and accused Democrats of antisemitism.
“I’m sorry some of my words make people uncomfortable, but this is what the American left is all about,” she tweeted.
Lauren Fine, a spokeswoman for No. 2 House Republican Steve Scalise, said in a statement that the congressman “does not agree with these comments and condemns these comparisons to the Holocaust.”
The top Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer, also blasted Greene’s assertions, saying “these are sickening, reprehensible comments, and she should stop this vile language immediately.”
Earlier this year McCarthy and the House Republican caucus refused to take action against Greene for her prior incendiary remarks. When the party declined to act, the House did, with just 11 Republicans joining Democrats in the February vote stripping her of her committee assignments.
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