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McConnell condemns 'loony lies' in swipe at Marjorie Taylor Greene, defends Cheney

Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, has come under fire for voting to impeach former President Donald Trump.
Image: Senate Minority Leader McConnell speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill last week.Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

"Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday after being questioned about Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.

“Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality," McConnell said.

McConnell, R-Ky., did not mention Greene by name, but his statement, which was first reported by The Hill, was released after he was asked about the controversial freshman lawmaker.

"This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party," his statement said.

Greene responded on Twitter, writing: "The real cancer for the Republican Party is weak Republicans who only know how to lose gracefully. This is why we are losing our country."

McConnell also released a statement defending Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, who has come under fire from supporters of former President Donald Trump for voting to impeach him last month.

“Liz Cheney is a leader with deep convictions and the courage to act on them. She is an important leader in our party and in our nation. I am grateful for her service and look forward to continuing to work with her on the crucial issues facing our nation," McConnell said.

Allies of the former president have been calling for Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, to be demoted from House leadership because of her vote.

For her part, Greene came under scrutiny last week over past remarks, including ones suggesting that school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and Parkland, Florida, were staged. Greene has also in the past expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy.

Greene was elected in November after the Democrat running against her dropped out of the race. McConnell's comments on Monday appear to be his first on Greene's contentious views.

Earlier Monday, a group of House Democrats introduced a resolution to remove Greene from her two committee assignments over her inflammatory and false statements.

The resolution, sponsored by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch, both of Florida, and Jahana Hayes of Connecticut, would remove Greene from the House Education & Labor Committee and the House Budget Committee.

The Rules Committee said it would consider the resolution Wednesday, the first step in getting it to a vote on the floor.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is expected to speak to Greene this week, but it’s unclear if the party will take any action against her.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., wears a "Trump Won" face mask as she arrives on the floor of the House on Jan. 3, 2021.Erin ScottT / Reuters file

"These comments are deeply disturbing and Leader McCarthy plans to have a conversation with the congresswoman about them," a spokesperson for McCarthy told Axios last week.

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Sunday called for Greene to be removed from committees. And Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, also weighed in Sunday, saying on CNN that "Republican leaders ought to stand up and say it is totally unacceptable what she has said."

The mother of one 2018 Parkland school shooting victims said on MSNBC Sunday that Greene told her that she does not believe major school shootings from the past decade were false flag events or that they had been staged.

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But Linda Beigel Schulman, whose son, Scott Beigel, was among the 17 people killed in the mass shooting, said Greene declined to join her to publicly disavow them on MSNBC.

In an interview with OAN on Monday, Greene defended a video that showed her harassing Parkland survivor David Hogg, but appeared to say the shootings "are not fake, and it’s terrible the loss that these families go through and their friends as well."

Greene has said she is being attacked in part because of her support for Trump.