Washington — Top House Republicans including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday repudiated comments by Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene comparing vaccination requirements to the Holocaust.
McCarthy did not say whether Greene, who was removed from her committee assignments in February because of her history of promoting conspiracy theories and posting videos with antisemitic and anti-Muslim sentiment, would face any repercussions for her latest offensive remarks.
In a tweet on Tuesday, the Georgia congresswoman shared an article from a Tennessee TV news station reporting that vaccinated employees of a local supermarket would have a “vaccination logo” on their nametags.
“Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star,” Greene wrote, claiming that “vaccine passports & mask mandates create discrimination against unvaxxed people.” Greene’s tweet came after she said in an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network last week that Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s support for mask requirements on the House floor, as recommended by the House attending physician, was similar to Nazism.
“You know, we can look back at a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star, and they were definitely treated like second class citizens, so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany,” the Georgia Republican said. “And this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.”
Six million Jewish people were murdered during the Holocaust, the deadliest genocide in world history.
In a statement, McCarthy said that “the House Republican Conference condemns this language.”
“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. “Americans must stand together to defeat antisemitism and any attempt to diminish the history of the Holocaust.”
A spokesperson for House Minority Whip Steve Scalise also said that “he does not agree with these comments and condemns these comparisons to the Holocaust.”
However, neither Scalise nor McCarthy proposed any consequences for Greene’s remarks, and both took the opportunity to criticize Democrats in their statements.
“At a time when the Jewish people face increased violence and threats, antisemitism is on the rise in the Democrat Party and is completely ignored by Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” McCarthy said.
Antisemitic incidents remained near a historically high level in 2020, according to an annual survey by the Anti-Defamation League released last month. There has also been a recent rise in antisemitic attacks in the wake of now-paused hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas on the Gaza Strip. Republicans argue that Democrats have not done enough to denounce these attacks, and condemned some Democrats for their support for the Palestinian people being killed and displaced by the Israeli airstrikes earlier this month.
A spokesperson for Pelosi responded that the speaker “has for decades spoken out against antisemitism and antisemitic attacks, including just yesterday,” citing a Monday tweet from Pelosi denouncing antisemitism.
“Leader McCarthy waited days to even issue a statement in response to one of his Members demeaning the Holocaust, and he clearly intends to continue to welcome Marjorie Taylor Greene in the GOP and shield her from any real consequence or accountability for her antisemitism,” Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill said. “Leader McCarthy’s silence has spoken volumes about his allegiance to the most extreme elements of the GOP Conference.”
Greene’s recent comments may have precipitated a response from McCarthy following criticism from prominent Republicans.
“Please educate yourself so that you can realize how absolutely wrong and inappropriate it is to compare proof of vaccination with the 6million Jews who were exterminated by the Nazis. You’re an embarrassment to yourself and the GOP,” Matt Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said in a tweet on Tuesday morning.
Jeff Miller, a prominent GOP lobbyist and close friend of McCarthy who sits on the Holocaust Memorial Museum Council, slammed Greene in a tweet on Tuesday, saying he would be “happy to arrange” for her to visit the U.S. Holocaust Museum.
“Then maybe going forward you wouldn’t make anymore disgusting, ignorant and offensive tweets. If I’m wrong and you’re not ignorant about Holocaust..then you are disgusting,” Miller said.
But Greene doubled down on her comments later on Tuesday, saying in a statement that Democrats’ “attempts to shame, ostracize, and brand Americans who choose not to get vaccinated or wear a mask are reminiscent of the great tyrants of history who did the same to those who would not comply.”
“I’m sorry some of my words make people uncomfortable, but this is what the American left is all about,” Greene said.
Democratic Congressman Brad Schneider said Tuesday that he was drafting a resolution to censure Greene for her comments.
“Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene continues to debase not only the memory of 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis, but all those who fought and died defending Democracy against Hitler and his evil,” Schneider said in a statement. “It is shameful that the Republican Conference continues to let her define their party, and dangerous that they refuse to expel her. There should be no room for such unapologetic hate and antisemitism in our politics or our government.”
Greene has come under fire several times for her controversial remarks before and since joining Congress. In social media posts and videos made before she was elected to Congress, Greene embraced a slew of far-right conspiracy theories, including questioning whether deadly school shootings had been staged and whether a plane really hit the Pentagon on 9/11. A supporter of the fantastical QAnon conspiracy theory, she also expressed support for violence against Democratic leaders in Congress.
Greene has repeatedly confronted Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, including an incident on the House floor earlier this month that prompted the New York congresswoman to tell reporters that Greene was “deeply unwell and clearly needs help.” The Washington Post first reported that Greene confronted Ocasio-Cortez and falsely accused her of supporting “terrorists” as Ocasio-Cortez was exiting the House chamber.
Pelosi called Greene’s alleged behavior “egregious” and “not in keeping with the behavior of a member of Congress.” She suggested that the House Ethics Committee investigate Greene.
“This is beneath the dignity of a person serving in the Congress of the United States,” she said.