In a rare rebuke of a sitting member of Congress, the Democrat-controlled U.S. House voted tonight to strip Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments. The conservative Georgia congresswoman has come under fire for publicly embracing and promoting racist rhetoric and far right conspiracy theories, as well as, social media posts that suggested support for violence against elected Democrats.
On the House floor Thursday, Rep. Greene told members she no longer believed in things such as QAnon, that recent school shootings had been pre-staged, or that 9/11 hadn't actually happened: "I was allowed to believe things that weren't true," Rep. Greene stated, "and I would ask questions about them and talk about them, That is absolutely what I regret."
Greene put blame on the media, saying outlets have taken her words out of context, and said that she's "a very real American" who was upset about things and didn't trust the government, a circumstance she said led her to get into politics. Ultimately, she said, her only mistake was being duped by misinformation online, "[b]ecause if it weren't for the Facebook post and comments that I liked in 2018, I wouldn't be standing here today, and you couldn't point a finger and accuse me of anything wrong."
Rep. Greene's speech fell short of an apology and did not appear to change any minds. By a vote of 230 to 199, with 11 Republicans voting with the majority, Greene was removed from service on both the House Education and Labor Committee and the House Budget Committee.
The move came after House Republicans met last night and decided not to remove the lightning rod freshman lawmaker from the committees on their own. At the same meeting, the caucus left Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney in her number three leadership position, despite calls by some in the caucus to demote her for voting last month to impeach then-President Trump.
Congresswoman Cheney's vote to impeach may have upset some of her GOP colleagues, but none in the Oklahoma delegation felt she should have been punished for voting her conscience. The concerns surrounding the actions of Rep. Greene were much different.
The ranking members of the House Rules Committee, Oklahoma 4th District Congressman Tom Cole has strongly condemned Greene's comments, but argued against passage of the resolution today, suggesting it was an abuse of power that would come back to haunt the Democrats.
"She's not being given the same due process that is given to other members before facing punishment from the House," Rep. Cole said. “Frankly, when the majority changes, the temptation will be overwhelming for members to say: Oh, well, there’s a member I didn’t like or said something or did something I didn’t like … I think I’m just going to take that committee assignment away.”
Several members of the Oklahoma delegation stated that perhaps there was a more appropriate way to hold Congresswoman Greene accountable than for Democrats to pull him out of her committees.
"She was elected by her constituents," said Rep. Stephanie Bice, (R) OK - 5. "She'll have to answer to them at some point."
Rep. Markwayne Mullin said what the Democrats were doing reeked of hypocrisy, pointing to inflammatory comments and anti-Semitic tweets from Representatives Ilhan Omar, (D) MN - 5, and Rashida Tlaib, (D) MI - 13, in the last couple of years.
"No one came after them on that," said Rep. Mullin, "we tried to censure them, [but] the Democratic party and the media wouldn't even acknowledge it."
At her weekly news conference today, Speaker Pelosi was asked if this action reflected a double standard: "Not at all--if any of our members threatened the safety of other members," said Speaker Pelosi, "we'd be the first ones to take them off a committee,"
The last time the Democrats stripped committee assignments from one of their own was in 2006.It wasn't for threatening the safety of another member, Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson was facing corruption charges.