In setting forth the argument that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) “is now our most disgraceful political leader,” Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson noted in February that McCarthy let Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) past endorsement of violence slip by with no more than a stern talking-to — choosing to simply accept Greene’s promise that she would no longer wish death on prominent Democrats.
Gerson highlighted some of Greene’s offending comments and actions:
The Republican legislator whom McCarthy has tried to shield from the consequences of sedition, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), said in 2019 that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is “guilty of treason . . . a crime punishable by death.” She endorsed the view that Pelosi might be quickly removed by “a bullet to the head.” She approved of the suggestion that federal law enforcement agents hostile to then-President Donald Trump should be executed. Responding to a proposal that former president Barack Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton be murdered, Greene wrote: “Stage is being set. Players are being put in place. We must be patient.”
The House minority leader was eager to accept Greene’s apology for the above incidents and take her at her word that she is a changed woman.
McCarthy claims he has received private assurances from Greene that she no longer wishes death on Pelosi. Greene made a weak, private apology to the House Republican caucus, mainly for causing them inconvenience. She also made a de minimis mea culpa on the House floor, saying she regrets some “words of the past” without directly apologizing for her overt racism and embrace of political assassination. This might best be called a false-flag apology — conceding just enough reality to sound sane, while leaving plenty of wiggle room for conspiratorial insanity. Greene’s admission that the 9/11 attacks “happened,” for example, did not include conceding a plane crashed into the Pentagon (which Greene has denied).
As apologies go, this has been thin gruel. But it has been enough for McCarthy to declare a united Republican front, reaching all the way from Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), who voted for Trump’s impeachment, to Greene, who supported the execution of Trump’s enemies. The McCarthy coalition is so diverse and exciting. Republicans must be proud.
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