House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Monday took aim at Twitter a day after the social media platform permanently suspended Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) personal account, which the far-right lawmaker had used to claim that the COVID-19 vaccines were causing people to die.
McCarthy did not mention Greene by name, but issued a diatribe complaining about “recent decisions to silence Americans” including “a sitting member of Congress” because, in his words, these banned individuals “share views different from the political and media elite.”
McCarthy goes on to compare COVID-19 deniers and anti-vaxxers to an array of unnamed Democrats and media figures and to Vice President Kamala Harris, and to claim that Twitter had, with its account suspensions, censored “first amendment protected free speech.”
“On the other end of the spectrum, Americans on the political left, including popular cable news hosts, members of Congress, and even the Vice President have themselves made public comments that are now universally understood to be false. Yet, they face no repercussions from the gatekeepers of America’s town square,” McCarthy said. “It is clear any speech that does not fit Big Tech’s orthodoxy gets muzzled.”
McCarthy’s statement comes a day after Twitter barred Greene’s personal Twitter account following “repeated violations” of the social media platform’s COVID-19 misinformation policy. Twitter announced the decision after Greene tweeted about “extremely high amounts of Covid vaccine deaths,” which included a misleading chart that drew from a government database of unverified data called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.
Greene’s official congressional Twitter account has not been suspended.
Facebook also moved to suspend Greene’s account for 24 hours on Monday after a similar post on the platform.
McCarthy’s criticism of Twitter comes, notably, as he aspires to be elected as House speaker if the GOP retakes the majority in the midterm elections this year.
In the past few months, McCarthy has made efforts to appease the far-right caucus of the GOP, which has voiced skepticism about his possible future speakership.
That group includes Greene as well as Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). Both Greene and Gosar lost committee seats last year for making social media posts musing about violence against Democratic lawmakers.
Last November, McCarthy promised to restore Greene and Gosar’s committee assignments if Republicans take back the majority. McCarthy also threatened that if the GOP were to retake the majority, the party might seek revenge by removing Democrats from committees because they voted to censure Gosar and Greene.
But that appeared to not be enough for Greene. Days after McCarthy’s vow to the far-right lawmakers, Greene complained that the House minority leader still hadn’t “fought” hard enough for her or for Gosar when asked about what it would take for McCarthy to earn her support during an episode of Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) podcast.
Greene told Gaetz that she wants Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Liz Cheney (R-WY), both of whom voted for former President Trump’s impeachment for “incitement of insurrection,” to be kicked out of the House GOP conference for serving on the Jan. 6 select committee — a demand that the House minority leader hasn’t acted on.
However, days after she complained about McCarthy to Gaetz, Greene claimed that she had a “good call” with the House minority leader in late November and that she “likes what he has planned ahead.”