More Senate Republicans are coming out to denounce the racist, anti-Semitic and violent rhetoric of congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Thom Tillis, a Republican of North Carolina, said in a new tweet, “It’s beyond reprehensible for any elected official, especially a member of Congress, to parrot violent QAnon rhetoric and promote deranged conspiracies like the Pentagon wasn’t really hit by a plane on 9/11. It’s not conservative, it’s insane.”
Republican Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota also said this afternoon that it would be “very hard” for him to support Greene staying on the House education committee, given that she has suggested school shootings were hoaxes. (Those suggestions, of course, have absolutely no basis in reality.)
The House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, has refused to remove Greene from her committee assignments, so the Democratic leadership is moving forward with a full chamber vote to do so.
Pelosi mocks McCarthy as a member of the ‘Q’ party
Nancy Pelosi has just released a scathing statement about minority leader Kevin McCarthy’s refusal to remove Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments over her racist, antisemitic and fringe beliefs.
The Democratic speaker’s press release identifies the Republican leader’s party and state affiliation as “Q-CA,” rather than “R-CA”.
“After several conversations and literally running away from reporters, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Q-CA) made clear that he is refusing to take action against conspiracy theorist Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene,” Pelosi said in the statement.
“As a result, the House will continue with a vote to strip Greene of her seat on the esteemed House Committee on Education & Labor and House Committee on Budget. McCarthy’s failure to lead his party effectively hands the keys over to Greene – an antisemite, QAnon adherent and 9/11 truther.”
Pelosi noted that several Republicans, including No 2 Senate Republican John Thune, have outlined the need to denounce Greene’s racist and antisemitic rhetoric.
Quoting Thune, Pelosi said, “McCarthy has chosen to make House Republicans ‘the party of conspiracy theories and QAnon’ and Rep Greene is in the driver’s seat.”
Jim McGovern, the Democratic chairman of the House rules committee, said he believed removing Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments was “the minimum” that the House should do.
“I personally think she should resign,” McGovern said. “I don’t think she’s fit to serve in this institution.”
Other Democrats have also called on Greene to resign, but she has refused to do so, instead sending fundraising pitches linked to the outcry over her racist and anti-Semitic beliefs.
Congressman Ted Deutch, a Democratic member of the House rules committee, got choked up as he discussed the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school during today’s hearing.
Marjorie Taylor Greene has suggested the shooting was a hoax. That is of course not true. The shooting was real, and 17 people were killed in the attack.
The shooting took place in Deutch’s district, and the congressman started his comments by reading off the names of the Parkland victims.
“There are not words in the English language to properly describe how the remarks of Ms Greene makes these communities feel,” Deutch said. “This makes it so much worse.”
Tom Cole, the top Republican on the House rules committee, said he considered today’s hearing to be “premature”.
Cole described Marjorie Taylor Green’s racist, antisemitic and violent comments as “deeply offensive,” but he suggested the matter should be referred to the House ethics committee before she is removed from her committee assignments.
The House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, has already said the full House will vote on removing Greene from her committee assignments tomorrow.
House rules committee holds hearing on punishing extremist Greene
The House rules committee is now holding a hearing on removing Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia congresswoman who has voiced support for the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory QAnon, from her committee assignments.
Jim McGovern, the Democratic chairman of the committee, opened the proceedings by noting, “We have never had a hearing like this before.” McGovern said of Greene’s racist and fringe beliefs, “This is sick stuff.”
McGovern argued that serving on House committees should be seen as a privilege rather than a right and the chamber was required to hold its members to a certain standard.
“It is not about canceling anybody with different political beliefs,” McGovern said. “It is about accountability and about upholding the integrity and the decency of this institution. If this isn’t the bottom line, I don’t know where the hell the bottom line is.”
The Biden administration has said it cannot release the visitor logs from the Trump White House.
“We cannot [release them],” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said this afternoon. “That is under the purview of the National Archives, so I’d certainly point you to there.”
Reporters have asked the new administration about the visitor logs amid questions over whether Donald Trump hosted anyone who participated in the January 6 insurrection in the days leading up to the attack on the Capitol.
The Biden White House has pledged to release its own visitor logs every quarter, as Barack Obama’s administration did.
Leyland Cecco reports for the Guardian from Toronto:
Canada has designated the far-right Proud Boys group as a terrorist organization alongside Isis and al-Qaida, amid growing concerns over the spread of white supremacist groups in the country.
On Wednesday Bill Blair, public safety minister, also announced the federal government would designate the white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups the Atomwaffen Division, the Base and the Russian Imperial Movement as terrorist entities. The federal government also added offshoots of al-Qaida, Isis and Hizbul Mujahedin to its list.
“Canada will not tolerate ideological, religious or politically motivated acts of violence,” Blair said.
The move by the federal government follows allegations that the Proud Boys played a role in the mob attack on the US Capitol in January. During the 2020 presidential debates, when Donald Trump was asked to condemn white supremacist groups, he instead told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”.
In late January, Canada’s parliament unanimously passed a motion calling on the federal government to designate the rightwing Proud Boys as a terrorist group. The motion had no practical legal impact, but spoke to a growing worry over rightwing extremism in Canada.
Ahead of the announcement, Canadian officials told reporters that they had been monitoring the Proud Boys before the Capitol Hill attack, but the event helped with the decision to list the organization.
The White House press briefing has now concluded, after Jen Psaki took questions from reporters for about 45 minutes.
Shortly before the briefing ended, Psaki was asked about the Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik.
“I have not spoken with the president about RT or Sputnik,” Psaki said. “I think it’s pretty factual to say they are tools of propaganda who work on behalf of the Russian government.”
Jen Psaki said it was “too soon” to discuss the possibility of altering the Democratic presidential primary calendar.
The question came after reports emerged that Nevada Democrats were pushing to have the state vote first in the nominating contest.
Psaki would not weigh in on the matter, although she noted that Nevada is “a little warmer” than Iowa, which currently votes first.
White House walks back CDC director’s comments about vaccinating teachers
Jen Psaki appeared to walk back comments from Dr Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about teachers receiving coronavirus vaccines.
During the White House coronavirus response team’s briefing earlier today, Walensky said, “Vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools.”
But the White House press secretary said just now, “They have not released their official guidance yet from the CDC on the vaccination of teachers and what would be needed to ensure the safe reopening of schools, and so we’d certainly defer to that, which we’d hope to see soon.”
Psaki reiterated that Biden believes it is very important to get teachers vaccinated as quickly as possible. The president has said safely reopening schools is a top priority for him.
Jen Psaki was asked about reports that Joe Biden is considering limiting the $1,400 checks in his coronavirus relief package.
“Further targeting means not the size of the check but the income level of the people receiving the check,” the White House press secretary told reporters.
What that means is that most Americans would still be eligible to receive $1,400 if the package is passed. However, while the current package calls for phasing out the checks for individuals who make $75,000 or more a year, that income level may come down as negotiations continue.
Jen Psaki was asked about the Space Force, a day after the press secretary laughed off a question about the military branch, attracting criticism from Republicans.
“We are not revisiting the decision to establish the Space Force,” Psaki said. “They absolutely have the full support of the Biden administration.”
The Space Force was established with bipartisan support in Congress under the Trump administration.
Jen Psaki deflected a question about the House vote to remove Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon-supporting Republican congresswoman, from her committee assignments.
“We’ve resisted speaking of her in this briefing room, and I’m not going to do that today,” the press secretary said.
The House is expected to vote tomorrow on whether to remove Greene from her committee assignments in response to her racist, anti-Semitic and fringe beliefs.
Jen Psaki denied reports that Joe Biden is more willing to negotiate with Republican lawmakers than some of his senior staffers.
“There is no one who’s going to tell him what to do or hold him back,” the press secretary told reporters.
Biden said earlier today that he believed his relief package would attract some Republican support, but congressional Republicans have generally voiced opposition to the $1.9 trillion price tag of Biden’s proposal.
Psaki said the White House considered Biden’s proposed package to already be bipartisan because it has the support of many Americans from both parties.
Joe Biden will visit the state department tomorrow, and Jen Psaki said the president’s remarks there would focus on thanking staffers for the work they do at home and abroad.
Psaki added that Biden would offer a broad overview of his foreign policy agenda.
Under the Trump administration, the state department suffered from low morale, as the then-president repeatedly denigrated diplomats as part of the “Deep State” out to get him.
White House warns against ‘cost of inaction’ on coronavirus relief
Joe Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, is now holding a briefing at the White House, and she opened it by addressing the negotiations over coronavirus relief.
Psaki noted that the president spoke to Democrats from the House and the Senate today to discuss the next relief package.
Psaki said Biden used the meetings to emphasize the need to go big with the legislation, warning that the “cost of inaction” on coronavirus relief was too high.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar accused House Republican leadership of “fanning the flames” of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s racist and antisemitic beliefs by failing to hold her accountable.
Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, noted that Greene has specifically targeted her and Rashida Tlaib in the past, insisting they be sworn in to office using a Bible instead of a Qur’an. Greene also referred to the diverse class of 2018 House freshmen as “an Islamic invasion of our government”.
“Let’s be clear: this is a desperate smear rooted in racism, misogyny, and Islamophobia. Marjorie Taylor Greene has incited violence against her fellow Members of Congress, repeatedly singling out prominent women of color,” Omar, a Democrat of Minnesota, said in a statement.
“Republicans will do anything to distract from the fact that they have not only allowed but elevated members of their own caucus who encourage violence. It’s time to stop whitewashing the actions of the violent conspiracy theorists, who pose a direct and immediate threat to their fellow Members of Congress and our most fundamental democratic processes.”