It’s been several days since Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s latest outrage-bait comments, in which she ratcheted up to comparing COVID-19 restrictions to the Holocaust, and several of her fellow Republicans have condemned the comments—but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has remained silent. “Evil lunacy,” said Rep. Liz Cheney. “Absolute sickness,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger. “Beyond reprehensible,” said Rep. Peter Meijer.
Crickets, said McCarthy.
Greene was whining about the continuing requirement that House members wear a mask in the House chamber, a requirement necessary because more than half of Republican House members are either not vaccinated or refuse to admit that they are. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of the continuing mask requirement, “The honor system? ... Do you want them breathing in your face on the strength of their honor?”
“This woman is mentally ill,” Greene said, referring to Pelosi. “You know, we can look back in 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 and this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.”
In fact, it is not. A minor inconvenience for public health reasons and mass murder for genocidal reasons are different. We could go so far as to say that a minor inconvenience for any reason and mass murder for any reason are different, even. People were pulled from their homes, torn from their families, tortured, starved, murdered. Marjorie Taylor Greene might have to reapply her makeup more often than she likes.
”You can never compare health-related restrictions with yellow stars, gas chambers & other Nazi atrocities. Such comparisons demean the Holocaust & contaminate American political speech,” the American Jewish Congress tweeted. “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene must immediately retract and apologize.”
Instead, Greene told reporters, “I stand by all of my statements. ... I said nothing wrong.” She continued, “I think any rational Jewish person didn't like what happened in Nazi Germany, and any rational Jewish person doesn't like what's happening with overbearing mask mandates and overbearing vaccine policies.”
Jewish people have the highest rate of vaccine acceptance of any religious group in the United States, and while data on mask-wearing by Jewish people in the U.S. is hard to come by, Israel only recently ended an outdoor mask mandate, after it had reached higher levels of vaccination than the U.S. has achieved. Is Greene calling the vast majority of Jews irrational? It would be on brand, honestly, but who even knows with her.
The thing is, we know that Greene is a horrible person. Gleefully, loudly, intentionally horrible. That’s her whole schtick. What’s noteworthy is that she remains a member in good standing of the House Republican conference. It took Democrats to strip her of committee assignments for encouraging violence against her political opponents and calling the mass murder of children a hoax. Republicans weren’t willing to take action against her for that, and now that she’s comparing public health precautions to the Holocaust, McCarthy isn’t even offering up the weak tea condemnations and “I’ll talk to her” pledges he made in January. Kevin McCarthy, despite the “leader” in his title, is no leader. He’s a follower, and he’s decided that Greene is the direction of the party he’s following. Cheney, who did condemn Greene’s comments, is no longer in House Republican leadership because—related—she condemned efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks for the Republican Party, notwithstanding a handful of Republicans condemning any given comment she makes. The party has repeatedly refused to disavow her, and so the party owns her and is owned by her.