Although several prominent Republicans on Sunday decried Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) incendiary remarks — which include heckling Parkland shooting survivors and musing about the execution of Democratic politicians — they shied away from joining in on calls for the QAnon-promoting House member to resign.
On Saturday, Greene bragged about having a “GREAT call” with former President Trump, adding to growing concerns about the former president’s continued ideological influence in the GOP. Greene’s call with Trump happened just days after Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) announced his plan to introduce a resolution to expel Greene from Congress as early as Tuesday amid backlash over her recent appointment to the House Education and Labor Committee.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has shown his reluctance to anger the MAGA contingent thus far by refusing to commit to any punishment for Greene. Greene’s reported call with Trump happened days before the GOP freshman is expected to have a chat with McCarthy about her recent troubling behavior.
On Friday, Axios reported that House Republican leaders were well aware of the risks posed by the QAnon sympathizer last summer, but ultimately opted to do little to stop her. Former Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) expressed their concerns about Greene, but McCarthy and others did little to stop her.
Here’s how Republicans stopped short of calling on Greene to resign on Sunday:
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” Kinzinger reiterated his suggestion last week that Greene should not “have the privilege of any committees” over her track record of amplifying dangerous conspiracy theories.
Kinzinger — who was one of the 10 House Republicans that voted to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” earlier this month and has faced intraparty backlash for breaking from his party’s fierce loyalty to the former president — decried his party for having “lost its moral authority in a lot of areas.”
When asked whether he would vote to evict Greene from Congress if he had the opportunity to do so, Kinzinger replied that he would “certainly vote her off” of House Education and Labor Committee, but is unsure about giving her the boot.
“In terms of eviction, I’m not sure because kind of in the middle. I think a district has every right to put who they want there,” Kinzinger said. “But we have every right to take a stand and say, ‘You don’t get a committee.’ And we definitely need to do that.”
WATCH: Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) says Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) shouldn't be evicted from Congress because a district's voters have "every right to put who they want" in office.@RepKinzinger: "I'd certainly vote her off committee." pic.twitter.com/pIcPtnZCGF
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 31, 2021
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
Portman, who announced last week that he will not seek re-election next year, called for Republican leaders to issue a “strong response” to Greene’s inflammatory remarks, but stopped short of demanding that her committee assignment be revoked.
During an interview on CNN, Portman said Greene’s remarks are “totally unacceptable” as he argued that “people ought to speak out clearly.”
Pressed on whether Greene should be stripped of her committee assignment, Portman refused to directly weigh in on the matter and said that the voters who elected her should be “respected.”
“I’m not one of the House leaders, but I assume that is something they’re looking at. And I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens. And, you know, I think that is the way to send a message,” Portman said. “The voters who elected her in her district in Georgia ought to be respected. On the other hand, when that kind of behavior occurs, there has to be a strong response.”
“I think Republican leaders ought to stand up and say it is totally unacceptable,” GOP Sen. Rob Portman says about Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s comments, adding he “wouldn’t be surprised” if she was stripped of her committee assignment. https://t.co/HEaMV6J9G2 #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/LwFlteavQ8
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) January 31, 2021
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R)
Appearing on ABC News, Hutchinson was grilled on whether Greene is fit to serve and should be on the education committee in light of her incendiary remarks.
“The people of her district elected her, that should mean a lot,” Hutchinson said, dodging the question. “They elected her and she’s going to run for re-election and she’ll be accountable for what she said and her actions.”
Pressed again on whether Greene is fit to serve, Hutchinson refused to answer the question by taking on a both-sidesism argument.
“I’m not going to answer that question as to whether she’s fit to serve because she believes in something that everybody else does not accept. I reject that,” Hutchinson said. “She’s going to stand for re-election, I don’t think we ought to punish people from a disciplinary standpoint, a party standpoint, because they think something a little bit different.”
After ABC News anchor Martha Raddatz pointed out that the QAnon-sympathizer’s conspiracy theories are not just “a little bit different,” Hutchinson quipped that he “would not vote for her” before once again saying that he is “not going to get in the middle of” the House’s debate over how to address Greene’s inflammatory remarks.
ABC: Marjorie Taylor Greene has voiced support for executing Nancy Pelosi. Is she fit to serve?
GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON: I'm not gonna answer that question as to whether she's fit to serve, because she believes in something that everybody else does not accept. pic.twitter.com/B58nACFMai
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 31, 2021
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R)
Pressed on CNN whether he wants to condemn Greene, Ducey dodged the question altogether by replying that he has condemned the deadly insurrection at the Capitol that Trump incited earlier this month.
Similar to Hutchinson’s take, Ducey — who Arizona Republicans voted to censure last week alongside Cindy McCain and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R) for refusing to do Trump’s bidding on bogus claims of election fraud — also displayed both-sidesism.
“There have been extremes on both sides that have muddied the waters as to what’s happening now,” Ducey said. “Now, everything that happened at the Capitol in terms of the break-in, the violence and vandalism, has been denounced and condemned by me and my side.”
Without directly mentioning Greene, Ducey said that he’s “not for this cancel culture,” embraces both the First and Second Amendment., and that he “does not think we should limit speech.”
“I think we should have more speech around this. And we have to persuade with better ideas and better policy and gratitude for what we’ve inherited in terms of the great nation and how do we make it better,” Ducey said. “The election is now behind us. So, it is time to focus on leading and governing.”
Arizona Gov. Ducey (R) on whether the GOP should condemn Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: "I think that we need to focus again on where we take the party going forward, but I'm not for this cancel culture." pic.twitter.com/H2L8GSym8f
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) January 31, 2021