Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene rises from GOP fringe to front

Oct 9, 2022, 9:08 PM | Updated: Oct 10, 2022, 9:48 pm
FILE - U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., speaks about Twitter, April 28, 2022, on Capitol Hi...

FILE - U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., speaks about Twitter, April 28, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Once shunned as a political pariah for her extremist rhetoric, the Georgia lawmaker who spent her first term in Congress stripped of institutional power by Democrats is being celebrated by Republicans and welcomed into the GOP fold. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Marjorie Taylor Greene took her seat directly behind Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy, a proximity to power for the firebrand congresswoman that did not go unnoticed, as he unveiled the House GOP’s midterm election agenda in Pennsylvania.

Days later, she appeared on stage warming up the crowd for Donald Trump, when the former president rallied voters in Michigan to cast ballots for Republicans, including for control of Congress.

Once shunned as a political pariah for her extremist rhetoric, the Georgia congresswoman who spent her first term in the House stripped of institutional power by Democrats is being celebrated by Republicans and welcomed into the GOP fold. If Republicans win the House majority in the November election, Greene is poised to become an influential player shaping the GOP agenda, an agitator with clout.

“No. 1, we need to impeach Joe Biden. No. 2, We need to impeach Secretary Mayorkas. And No. 3, we should impeach Merrick Garland,” Greene told The Associated Press outside the U.S. Capitol. Alejandro Mayorkas is the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Garland the attorney general.

Scolding the media for having been “wrong about me” from the start, she said those who know better “take me very seriously.”

“I’m going to be a strong legislator and I’ll be a very involved member of Congress,” she predicted. “I know how to work inside, and I know how to work outside. And I’m looking forward to doing that.”

This is the outlook for the Republican Party in the Trump era, the normalizing of once fringe figures into the highest ranks of political power. It’s a sign of the GOP’s rightward drift that Greene’s association with extremists and nationalists, violent rhetoric and remarks about Jewish people have found a home in elected office. Her ascent brings into focus the challenge ahead for McCarthy, whose GOP ranks are filling with far-right political stars with the potential to play an oversized role in setting the policies, priorities and tone of the new Congress.

“I’ve said for a long time there’s a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party,” said Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, at a briefing ahead of the midterm elections.

When the congresswoman says outlandish things — as she did at the Trump rally earlier this month claiming “Democrats want Republicans dead, and they’ve already started the killings” — few Republican leaders dare a public or private rebuke of such incendiary language. In this case, she was exaggerating two local incidents involving politics, one that ended tragically in a fatality.

Greene’s political currency stretches beyond her massive social media following and her ability to rake in sizable sums from donors. Her proximity to Trump makes her a force that cannot be ignored by what’s left of her mainstream GOP colleagues.

McCarthy’s allowance for Greene to sit front and center with leadership for the campaign rollout was not by accident but design. The Republican lawmakers in attendance celebrated her presence, calling it a sign of the GOP’s “big tent” that welcomes all comers. But Greene’s arrival also signaled a stark normalizing of the most extreme elements in the Republican Party.

Longtime political strategist Rick Wilson, a former Republican who left the party in the Trump era, calls Greene’s brand of politics “government by trolling” that marks a dangerous new era for the GOP and will make it difficult to govern. McCarthy is in line to become House speaker if Republicans regain the majority.

“No matter what the trolling part of the Republican caucus does, you can’t ever satisfy them,” said Wilson, now at the Lincoln Project.

With the departure of the last vestiges of the anti-Trump wing of the House GOP — Liz Cheney defeated by a primary opponent and Adam Kinzinger deciding to step down rather than seek reelection — “that’s it,” Wilson said.

Greene swept onto the national stage in the 2020 election, catapulted forward even before she took office. As the lawmaker-elect from northwest Georgia, she attended a key organizing meeting at the Trump White House as lawmakers laid plans to object to the certification of Joe Biden’s election on Jan. 6, 2021. When she arrived to be sworn into Congress, she wore a “Trump Won” face mask.

Democrats moved swiftly and unequivocally to reprimand Greene, voting to strip her of congressional committee assignments over her incendiary rhetoric, including trafficking in volatile conspiracy theories. Greene drew rebuke from her own party a few months later for comparing mandatory COVID-19 face masks to the treatment of Jewish people by Nazi Germany.

While some have tried to compare Greene to outspoken far-left lawmakers, it became clear even to Republican leaders that Greene stood in a category of her own.

At that time, McCarthy called her comments about the Holocaust “wrong” and “appalling.” Greene later apologized.

In many ways, Greene’s arrival in the House traces the arc of the Republican Party’s rightward evolution from the Newt Gingrich revolution that brought conservatives to power in the 1994 election, to the “tea party” Republicans that regained the House majority in 2010.

Jack Kingston, a former Republican congressman who rose during those earlier eras, said McCarthy was smart in welcoming Greene to unfurl the House GOP’s “Commitment to America” last month.

“He’s got to work with her, and he knows that,” Kingston said.

“Getting Marjorie Taylor Greene on board is very important,” he said. “If you don’t bring everybody in the tent, they’re going to find their own niche.”

In the interview, Greene said she is certain she will be reinstated on her congressional committees if Republicans win the majority, eyeing the House Oversight panel, and is talking to leadership about other opportunities in the new Congress.

Not only does Greene want to impeach Biden and Cabinet officials, she is eager to conduct investigations, including into the origins of COVID-19.

Last month, Greene unveiled legislation that is another priority — her bill to prohibit some gender reassignment procedures on minors — flanked by a dozen Republican lawmakers and leaders in the conservative movement. Many of them praised the congresswoman for her work.

“I want to thank Marjorie Taylor Greene — who is soon to get her full legislative powers back, by the way,” said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the Conservative Political Action Committee, who hugged her afterward.

“If this is the type of thing that you’re going to have the courage to do, I think that’s something everybody needs to understand,” Schlapp said.

McCarthy and Greene appear to have come to an understanding that they need each other. The leader needs Greene to come into the GOP fold rather than throw rocks from outside. She needs McCarthy’s blessing to regain committee assignments, enabling her to participate more fully in Congress and put her imprint on legislation.

At the Pennsylvania event McCarthy batted away questions about his ability to govern if Republicans win the majority.

“Name me one person in the conference that is opposed to this,” he said afterward of their platform. “Is that a difference? Yes.”

___

Follow AP for full coverage of the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              FILE - Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., waves at supporters before former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Sept. 3, 2022. Once shunned as a political pariah for her extremist rhetoric, the Georgia lawmaker who spent her first term in Congress stripped of institutional power by Democrats is being celebrated by Republicans and welcomed into the GOP fold. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
            
              FILE - Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., listens as House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., not pictured, speaks at DMI Companies in Monongahela, Pa., Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. McCarthy joined with other House Republicans to unveil their "Commitment to America" agenda. Once shunned as a political pariah for her extremist rhetoric, the Georgia lawmaker who spent her first term in Congress stripped of institutional power by Democrats is being celebrated by Republicans and welcomed into the GOP fold. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger, File)
            
              FILE - Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., talks to the media at DMI Companies in Monongahela, Pa., Sept. 23, 2022. Once shunned as a political pariah for her extremist rhetoric, the Georgia lawmaker who spent her first term in Congress stripped of institutional power by Democrats is being celebrated by Republicans and welcomed into the GOP fold. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger, File)
            
              FILE - U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., speaks about Twitter, April 28, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Once shunned as a political pariah for her extremist rhetoric, the Georgia lawmaker who spent her first term in Congress stripped of institutional power by Democrats is being celebrated by Republicans and welcomed into the GOP fold. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

AP

FILE - A student visits a sensory room at Williams Elementary School, on Nov. 3, 2021, in Topeka, K...
Associated Press

Many kids are struggling. Is special education the answer?

The COVID-19 pandemic sent Heidi Whitney’s daughter into a tailspin. Suddenly the San Diego middle schooler was sleeping all day and awake all night. When in-person classes resumed, she was so anxious at times that she begged to come home early, telling the nurse her stomach hurt. Whitney tried to keep her daughter in class. […]
6 hours ago
Associated Press

Millennial Money: How credit can beat buy now, pay later

At first glance, a “buy now, pay later” plan’s promise of no interest or upfront fees can seem more appealing than a credit card’s terms. Dividing a transaction into, say, a pay-in-four installment plan sounds straightforward and manageable. Unlike credit cards, though, these plans lack certain consumer protections and are sometimes unpredictable. In this way, […]
6 hours ago
FILE - Then Economic revitalization minister, Yasutoshi Nishimura speaks during a press conference ...
Associated Press

Japan, Belgium to cooperate in chip production, development

TOKYO (AP) — A newly founded Japanese semiconductor company aiming to revive Japan’s chip industry will collaborate with a Belgian research organization in research and development of next-generation chips for production in Japan. Economy and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters Tuesday that the new company, Rapidus, which was launched last month by eight corporate […]
6 hours ago
A protester waves a Mongolian national flag as protesters gather on the steps of the State Palace i...
Associated Press

Mongolians protest alleged theft of coal sold to China

ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia (AP) — Protesters angered by allegations of corruption linked to Mongolia’s coal trade with China tried to force their way into the State Palace in the capital, demanding dismissals of officials involved in the scandal. The U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar issued an alert Monday saying that several hundred protesters had gathered in the […]
6 hours ago
FILE --A man stands at the entrance of a hospital in Frankfurt, Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Mi...
Associated Press

Panel proposes major overhaul of German hospital financing

BERLIN (AP) — An expert panel unveiled a proposal Tuesday for a major overhaul of Germany’s system for funding hospitals that it says would promote quality over quantity, ending what some described as a “hamster wheel” system where clinics tried to perform as many procedures as possible. The government-appointed panel of independent experts suggested putting […]
6 hours ago
In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Ze...
Associated Press

Ukraine: Drone strikes hit Russia as Zelenskyy travels east

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — In a new display of defiance from Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to an eastern city near the front line Tuesday while two more strategic sites inside Russia were reportedly hit by drone attacks. A fire blamed on a drone attack broke out at an airport in Russia’s southern Kursk […]
6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene rises from GOP fringe to front