Marjorie Taylor Greene's Holocaust comparison draws delayed condemnation from GOP leaders

Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Kevin McCarthy were slow to denounce the freshman Republican congresswoman

By Zachary Petrizzo
Published May 25, 2021 2:36PM (EDT)
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol on February 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House voted 230 to 199 on Friday evening to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) from committee assignments over her remarks about QAnon and other conspiracy theories. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol on February 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House voted 230 to 199 on Friday evening to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) from committee assignments over her remarks about QAnon and other conspiracy theories. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Republican Party leadership has finally emerged, nearly five days after the fact, to denounce far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's comparison of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's mask mandates on the House floor to the death of Jews during the Holocaust.

The statements from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell follow days of outrage over Greene's comments and a groundswell of criticism to the GOP's inaction from Jewish groups and moderate Republicans alike.

"Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling," McCarthy finally wrote in a statement released on Tuesday morning. "Let me be clear: the House Republican Conference condemns this language."

Scalise on Tuesday followed the lead of McCarthy and denounced the remarks from Greene.

"Rep. Scalise does not agree with these comments and condemns these comparisons to the Holocaust," Scalise spokesperson Lauren Fine told The Hill's Scott Wong. 

Additionally, McConnell called Greene's comments "outrageous" and "reprehensible."

Republican and recently appointed House Conference chair Rep. Elise Stefanik also released a statement about the Greene remarks but failed to cite the lawmaker by name.

"Equating mask-wearing and vaccines to the Holocaust belittles the most significant human atrocities ever committed. We must all work together to educate our fellow Americans on the unthinkable horrors of the Holocaust. #NeverAgain," Stefanik stated. 

The controversial remarks from Green stem from an appearance the lawmaker made on a far-right internet show, on "The Real America's Voice" with host David Brody, where the comparison was touted with little pushback from the host.  

"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," Greene stated.

"And this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about," the Republican and QAnon floating congresswoman added, referring to the mask mandate.  

But the comment and quick backlash from the comparison didn't phase Greene, as the member proceeded to double and triple down on her Holocaust comparison. 

"I never compared it to the Holocaust, only the discrimination against Jews in early Nazi years. Stop feeding into the left-wing media attacks on me," Greene tweeted on Tuesday morning after GOP leadership denounced her remarks. "Everyone should be concerned about the squads' support for terrorists and discrimination against unvaxxed people. Why aren't they?" Greene added firing back at criticism from conservative commentator Ben Shapiro. 

Responding to PunchBowl News founder Jake Sherman, Greene didn't back down either. "You are a liar. Stop twisting my words. If you care about people NOT being discriminated against or being treated unequally then you would use your platform to be against vaccine passports. Instead, you are all in for this sick Socialism just like good little state-run media," Greene tweeted. 

While many spoke out against the comparison of Greene, some on the far-right backed the lawmaker, including former Breitbart editor Raheem Kassam. "Democrats are promoting violent anti-Semitism across the world but @GOPLeader is more concerned with an awkward comparison vis a vis authoritarianism," he tweeted. "Why is there never universal, strong condemnation of the anti-Semitism peddled by @RashidaTlaib, @IlhanMN, and their squad?" former Trump campaign advisor Boris Epshtey floated in a whataboutism style tweet on Tuesday. 


Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo is a staff writer at Salon. He previously covered politics at Mediaite and The Daily Dot. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo. Send him tips: zpetrizzo@salon.com

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Aggregation Anti-semitism Gop Holocaust Kevin Mccarthy Marjorie Taylor Greene Mitch Mcconnell Republicans