ICYMI: Your TPM Weekend News Roundup

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February 5, 2021 5:44 p.m.

Seeing Greene

  • The GOP faced a reckoning this week over a controversial member of Congress who has embraced the QAnon conspiracy theory.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear where he stands in a statement late Monday, calling out Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) — though not by name. “Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country,” McConnell said.
  • Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) backed McConnell’s statement. “We have to move beyond what someone thinks might be true because it’s on the internet, into what is true as best as we can understand it,” Cassidy said in an interview Tuesday.
  • Top Democrat Rep. Hakeem Jeffries used McConnell’s quote against Greene during a press conference: “The last time I checked, cancers need to be cut out and not allowed to metastasize.”
  • Greene, who had endorsed violence against Democrats and called school shooting massacres “false flags,” faced criticism from officials at home, too. “If you have any common sense, you know she’s an anchor on the party,” Georgia elections official Gabriel Sterling told Politico. “She is weighing us down.”
  • Greene met with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Tuesday to address her incendiary comments.
  • During a GOP conference meeting Wednesday evening, Greene expressed some contrition for her past remarks. That was enough to earn a standing ovation from her GOP colleagues.
  • Ultimately, McCarthy announced he would not strip Greene of her committee assignments, teeing up a House vote to give her the boot anyway.
  • In a defiant press conference Friday morning, Greene took aim at the media in a Trump-esque speech.

Cheney Hangs On

  • On the other side of the Republican ideological spectrum, Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, held onto her leadership post after a vote by her colleagues. Rank-and-file Republicans were furious with Cheney for voting to impeach former President Trump, demonstrating the sway Trump still holds over the party.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a Trump ally to the bitter end, even publicly backed Cheney.
  • McConnell congratulated Cheney after the vote, calling her a “leader with deep convictions and the courage to act on them.”

The Threat Remains

  • This week brought forth powerful accounts from lawmakers urging their colleagues — and the country — to reckon with the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
  • In an emotional Instagram live stream, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) discussed the trauma of the attack on the Capitol. “The reason I say this, and the reason I’m getting emotional in this moment, is because these folks who tell us to move on, that it’s not a big deal, that we should forget what’s happened, or even telling us to apologize — these are the same tactics of abusers,” Ocasio-Cortez said on the stream. “And I’m a survivor of sexual assault. And I haven’t told many people that in my life,” the lawmaker continued. “But when we go through trauma, trauma compounds on each other.”
  • Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) also sounded the alarm on the mix of dangerous and violent rhetoric from Republicans. “I fear that with no accountability, no recourse and calls to ‘move on’ will turn this toxic environment into a deadly situation,” Omar tweeted.
  • Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) fought back tears Thursday night as she urged her colleagues to take the deadly insurrection at the Capitol seriously. “And so I urge my colleagues to please, please take what happened on January 6 seriously,” she said. “It will lead to more death and we can do better. We must do better.”
  • On Tuesday night, the House approved fines for lawmakers who ignore new safety screenings in the wake of the insurrection.
  • And on Friday, several dozen Republicans wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) asking that the expanded fence around the Capitol be taken down. The letter relied on the GOP’s preferred talking point of late: that we must simply “move on.”

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