This is not something that I take lightly. But I believe that what Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has done warrants her being expelled from Congress.
If you look at her behavior and comments — in the context of what had been going on in the country before Nov. 3, then after the elections, and finally during and after the insurrection that occurred on Jan. 6 — removing her from the committees is not enough. It's a great first step, because somebody who peddles in lies and conspiracy theories should not have a platform to try to influence the education policy of the United States. But it's not enough.
House Republicans removed Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, from his committees in the last Congress because he used inflammatory language and he was catering to white supremacists, but what she's done goes beyond that. She participated in inciting the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol to overturn the results of a free and fair election, which is the cornerstone of our democracy. Five people were killed, including a Capitol Police officer who lay in state here on Wednesday.
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And while there will be a motion to censure her — and I will likely support that when it comes to a vote — I also think that isn't responsive enough to the gravity of her actions. Members have been censured for using unparliamentary language, for the improper use of campaign funds, for filing incorrect financial disclosure statements — stuff like that. What she has done goes far beyond that; censuring her does not send a strong enough message to the country about how seriously the House of Representatives takes individuals who peddle in lies, who use the language of political violence and who try to incite violence in order to get their way in either electoral politics or in the legislative process.
And even after facing the possibility of punishment by the House, she hasn't apologized: instead, she blamed the backlash to her dangerous statements on cancel culture, simply affirmed the fact that 9/11 happened, that school shootings aren't all fake and said that, when it came to her embrace of the cult-like QAnon conspiracy theory, she had been "allowed to believe things that weren't true," rather than take responsibility for her own embrace and promotion of the lies and misinformation.
Oh, and she used the controversy to fundraise for her re-election campaign and the National Republican Congressional Committee, while spreading more conspiracy theories about Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., via Twitter on Tuesday, as well as using falsehoods about Reps. Omar, Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., supposedly condoning violence (they did not) in a fundraising email on Wednesday.
It's clear that, as long as she's in office, Rep. Greene can and will try to influence her hardest, most hard-core supporters — especially the ones that believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory, the white supremacist organizations like the Three Percenters — to intimidate other lawmakers. This is not only a concern we had in the past; it is clearly one we need to continue to have moving forward in the future.
She was on Jan. 6 and today remains a danger to her colleagues in the House and to the staff at the Capitol.
Expelling a member from Congress is not something that's done lightly; it's not something that's been done many times in the history of the United States House of Representatives. But I believe that, in this case, it is completely warranted. If a president can be impeached for inciting violence and inciting insurrection, a member of Congress can at least be removed from office.
Some people will, of course, say that she was elected by the people in her district, which is true. But if somebody committed a crime, we can make a decision as the House of Representatives that such an individual should not be sitting in Congress. That is completely the prerogative of the House, and it is within our bounds.
The threshold for removing any member is high; two-thirds is not an easy threshold to achieve. But I want people to be on record about which side of the line they stand on: Do they believe that people who incite political violence as a means to an end should be sitting in Congress, or not? Members need to be on the record about whether they think her behavior is acceptable, which is what this vote would do.
It will be extremely difficult to get 67 or 70 Republicans to support it — we only got 11 Republicans to support removing her from her committee assignments on Thursday and 10 to vote to impeach Donald Trump in January — but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.
This is not about having a different point of view, and it's not about her being a conservative. I work with conservatives whenever I can (as long as I don't need to compromise my Democratic values), and I'm one of the most progressive members of Congress. But what Rep. Greene has done is beyond what should be the scope of political decorum, and it could be extremely dangerous.
There are, in fact, other members who are supportive of a resolution to expel her but are also deeply concerned with whether, if they signed on as a co-sponsor, it would that put them, their staff or their family in danger. When I announced my intention to introduce a resolution to expel her, I received a few death threats, almost from the get-go. This is the kind of support she attracts; this is the kind of behavior she continues to incite. I truly believe that she is a threat to the safety of other members and the institution. So, it is a big step, but it's something that needs to be done.
We need to be able to do our work without fearing for our lives.
As told to THINK editor Megan Carpentier, edited and condensed for clarity.