Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene partly recants conspiracy theories, but fails to apologize

By: - February 4, 2021 2:56 pm

Marjorie Taylor Greene. Credit: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Ahead of an expected vote to remove U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee posts, the Georgia Republican walked back some of her most incendiary comments, saying she “was allowed to believe things that weren’t true.”

In a 10-minute speech on the House floor Thursday afternoon, Greene offered an explanation for some of the violent, anti-Semitic comments and social media posts that have drawn a growing outcry from Democrats.

She did not apologize, and the House continued toward an expected late-afternoon vote on removing Greene from her two committees: the Education and Labor panel, and the Budget Committee.

Greene said that she sought out information on the Internet after losing trust in the government and the media, but later stopped believing the conspiracy theories circulated by fringe groups like QAnon.

“I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true, and I would ask questions about them and talk about them,” Greene said. “And that is absolutely what I regret, because if it weren’t for the Facebook posts and comments that I liked in 2018, I wouldn’t be standing here today and you couldn’t point a finger and accuse me of doing anything wrong, because I’ve lived a very good life that I’m proud of.”

The controversy has stemmed from the posts Greene made before she was elected to Congress in November.

In those posts, she endorsed a range of conspiracy theories, including that several deadly mass school shootings were staged, and liked a post that called for putting a bullet in the head of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.

She also questioned the veracity of the Sept. 11 attacks.

In her floor remarks Thursday, Greene recanted some of her rhetoric, saying “school shootings are absolutely real,” and that the 9/11 attacks “absolutely happened.” She said that in late 2018, she began to identify “misinformation” in QAnon posts, and stopped believing what she had been reading.

Greene blamed the media for the controversy around her posts, accusing reporters of using “teeny, tiny pieces of words that I’ve said” to misrepresent her views.

Some of her social media rhetoric, largely from 2018 and 2019, was publicly documented before her election. But after House Republican leaders tapped her for the Education and Labor Committee, Democrats expressed outrage at that assignment, citing her comments about school shootings.

“If this is not the bottom, I don’t know what the hell is,” Rep. Jim McGovern, chairman of the House Rules Committee, said Wednesday, describing Greene’s past comments as violating the chamber’s standards of conduct.

After Greene’s speech Thursday, McGovern (D-Mass.) responded that he was “still deeply, deeply troubled” by her comments and posts, noting that she did not denounce, or apologize for, liking the comment about attacking Pelosi, or for anti-Semitic, Islamophobic comments.

He also said some of her posts were made in 2019, after she said she stopped believing in QAnon theories.

“The gentlewoman’s campaign has profited off of these hurtful remarks and these dangerous statements, so I just point that out,” McGovern added.

Big campaign donors have stuck by Greene throughout the controversy and she has encouraged campaign fundraising in her tweets.

Republican leaders have declined to undo her committee assignments. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) instead has accused Democrats of launching a “partisan power grab” by telling the other party which members can serve on committees.

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Laura Olson
Laura Olson

Laura covers the nation's capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom, a network of nonprofit outlets that includes Florida Phoenix. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.