Last week, the husband of Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green filed for divorce. Perry Greene called his marriage “irretrievably broken” and said that he and his wife had already been living separate lives, even as they had married in college and raised three children.
Salacious allegations surrounded the breakup, none of which are of interest to me because Taylor Greene’s personal life is her own. Rather, what makes her unfit for office is her repulsive antisemitism that way too many Republicans give her a pass on, including Jewish ones.
I have lambasted the Democratic Party for its failure to take action against the antisemites in its midst. I was disgusted when Democrats in Congress refused to take any punitive measures against Ilhan Omar, instead issuing only a mealy-mouthed condemnation of all forms of bigotry that didn’t mention her. But the Republican Party has its share of antisemites and I am equally appalled at its tolerance of those like Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Greene’s latest in a long series of outrageous slanders was to compare President Joe Biden to Adolf Hitler in response to his speech warning of the threat to democracy posed by “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans.” Biden’s speech was way too political and a mistake. To state the obvious, there are plenty of pro-Trump Americans who are deeply patriotic.
Regardless, Greene tweeted: “Joe Biden is Hitler” with the hashtag “NaziJoe has got to go.” Further amplifying her venomous slander, she posted a doctored video of Biden with a Hitler mustache surrounded by swastikas with the audio of a recording of Hitler speaking.
Even by the standards of today’s vicious political discourse, Greene’s remark is beyond the pale, denigrates the Holocaust and constitutes a form of holocaust denial. If Joe Biden is Hitler, then the Holocaust was not so bad after all.
Where are the Republican leaders to denounce her?
Lack of condemnation of MTG
THIS IS a longstanding pattern with both Greene and the GOP, which began almost from the moment she entered Congress. Republicans have been reluctant to criticize her or enact punitive measures against her.
As The New York Times noted last year, this starkly contrasts with Rep. Liz Cheney’s treatment for criticizing Donald Trump: She was expelled from her post as House GOP Conference Chair. The Times report came after Greene compared mask and vaccine mandates to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust multiple times, again engaging in Holocaust denigration and denial.
She said employer-mandated proof of vaccination was “just like [how] the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.” She compared the House mask mandate to how Jews were “put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany.” She also equated university vaccination requirements to the Holocaust.
Greene seems to be not only pathologically antisemitic but to have a sick Holocaust fetish. Her antisemitism would be comical if it were not tragic – and indeed, Saturday Night Live did a sketch in their season opener last week making fun of Greene’s obsession with Jews.
It took nearly a week of bad publicity before House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy managed to condemn the remarks she made last year. Taking a page from the Democratic playbook, he could not simply repudiate her; instead, he had to gratuitously mention the rise of antisemitism in the Democratic Party.
The Times reported that Greene’s response to McCarthy was not contrition but a retweet of a post calling him a “moron” and “feckless.”
A chance for reconciliation
MONTHS EARLIER, Democrats in the House voted to remove Greene from congressional committees for her antisemitic comments and others unrelated to Jews, such as saying the quickest way to remove Speaker Nancy Pelosi from power would be “a bullet to the head” and that the September 11 attacks and some school shootings never happened. Republicans objected, but Democrats only acted after it was clear the GOP would not.
McCarthy said he spoke to Greene about her responsibility as a member of Congress to be held to a higher standard than a private citizen, but this talking to clearly had no impact on her.
President Trump should have also rebuked her. Greene said she had a “GREAT call” with him and expressed gratitude for his support.
Earlier this year, Greene attended the America First Political Action Conference organized by a man the ADL called a “prominent white supremacist pundit” and is a Holocaust denier who said Jews burning in gas chambers was like baking cookies. After being criticized for speaking at the conference where Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler were praised, Greene doubled down and blamed the bad publicity she got on Democrats and “Pharisees in the Republican Party.”
McCarthy again was silent. Although Sen. Mitch McConnell wouldn’t mention Greene’s name, he did say that “There’s no place in the Republican Party for white supremacists or antisemitism.” Sen. Mitt Romney referred to her as a “moron,” saying “I have to think that anybody who would sit down with white nationalists and speak at their conference was certainly missing a few IQ points.”
Greene has also called George Soros, a Holocaust survivor, a Nazi and accused him of turning his fellow Jews over to the Nazis. I’m well aware that many Jews are deeply uncomfortable with Soros’s politics and unfair criticism of Israel. But calling a Holocaust survivor a Nazi is disgusting and repulsive. She has also said that the man who drove his car into the protesters at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was on Soros’s payroll and that the neo-Nazi rally was a false flag operation.
Jewish space lasers
AT FIRST, it was easy to dismiss Greene as a quack when she said California wildfires were started by space lasers controlled by the Rothschild Family and expressed support for QAnon, the mysterious producer of conspiracy theories, including ones about Jewish power. But she is not crazy. She is a member of the United States Congress: one acting with malevolent intent and indicative of the kind of right-wing bigotry that emerged from the shadows into the light over the last years.
Conservatives, like McCarthy, have been quick to point out the repugnant antisemitism from the far Left that has metastasized because of its acceptance by Democrats, but they have been too hesitant to express similar disdain for the antisemites on the far Right. This is a great shame, as McCarthy is a stalwart supporter of Israel and much admired by the American Jewish community.
CNN’s Abby Phillip suggested that Greene thinks her comments help her with the base loyal to Donald Trump. While it certainly does not apply to most Republicans, we have seen that there are bigots in his base who would applaud her remarks. She proved it by turning the attacks on her into a successful fundraising tool. More alarming, she had enough support in her district to win her primary with 70% of the vote.
I can understand the political logic of McCarthy being disinclined to punish someone democratically elected by such a wide margin. This is not a political issue, however – it is a moral one and a test of leadership.
The Republican Party cannot say it condemns antisemitism and then accept a rabid antisemite in its midst. Republicans may think it is good politics to change the subject by talking about the Democrats, but they only succeed in looking like hypocrites.
Although it is late, it is not too late for the GOP to condemn Greene outright before the plague of antisemitism spreads. Marjorie Taylor Greene must be ostracized by the Republican Party.
The writer, whom The Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the author of Holocaust Holiday: One Family’s Descent into Genocide Memory Hell. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @RabbiShmuley.