Marjorie Taylor Greene's latest Nazi analogy: Vaccine to be distributed by "medical brown shirts"

Georgia congresswoman can't stay away from the Nazi references, only a week after Holocaust Museum apology

By Jon Skolnik
Published July 8, 2021 11:45AM (EDT)
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) wears a "Trump Won" face mask (Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images)
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) wears a "Trump Won" face mask (Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images)

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., once again drew an analogy with Nazi Germany on Tuesday when she described officials handling President Joe Biden's vaccine rollout as "medical brown shirts."

"Biden pushing a vaccine that is NOT FDA approved shows covid is a political tool used to control people," the Georgia freshman tweeted. "People have a choice, they don't need your medical brown shirts showing up at their door ordering vaccinations. You can't force people to be part of the human experiment."

In the late 1920s and '30s, the often-violent paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party, officially called the SA, was colloquially described as the "brownshirts" for the color of its uniforms. The SA was involved in orchestrating pro-Hitler demonstrations and played a key role in the destruction of thousands of Jewish-owned businesses during the pogrom known as Kristallnacht in 1938. 

Greene's latest comments come on the heels of her apology last week for a similar Nazi comparison in which she likened mandatory mask-wearing to the Nazi-era requirement that Jewish people wear identifying Stars of David on their clothing. 

"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 said in an interview, "and this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about."

Greene later retracted those remarks after visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, saying, "I always want to remind everyone — I'm very much a normal person."

The Georgia lawmaker's latest comments came in response to Biden's remarks during a speech on Tuesday, when he said: "Now we need to go community-by-community, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, and oft times door-to-door — literally knocking on doors — to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus." He did not suggest that such inoculations would be mandatory, or would involve any form of force or coercion.

Asked about Greene's latest remarks, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said no one should be taking medical advice from the Georgia congresswoman. Biden's vaccine effort, she said, "is about protecting people and saving lives. That's a role we're going to continue to play from the federal government and use any of the tools and tactics that we think will be effective."

Although Greene was technically correct in saying that coronavirus vaccines are "NOT FDA approved," health authorities have described that as a distinction without a difference. All three vaccines available to Americans went through an expedited process known as "emergency use authorization," under which testing, production, approval and distribution happen at an accelerated pace. The vaccines have all "met FDA's rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Greene has often run into trouble on previous occasions over her apparent penchant for baseless sensationalism. In February, she was stripped of her committee assignments in the House after her previous social media activity resurfaced in which she had implied support for the assassination of various Democratic lawmakers, suggested that the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting in 2018 could have been a "false flag" operation and seemingly endorsed the notion that wealthy Jewish elites had used "space lasers" to start wildfires in California.


Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, AlterNet, and The New York Daily News.

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