The US House of Representatives voted to strip “QAnon Congresswoman” Marjorie Taylor Greene of two high-profile committee assignments on Thursday (local time), punishing her for incendiary remarks that included support for violence against Democrats.
In a test of unity for a House Republican caucus riven by division, nearly 95 per cent of Republicans voted to oppose the punishment after Greene expressed regret for remarks made before she entered office but failed to apologise.
Eleven Republicans joined Democrats in a 230-199 vote to approve the Democratic-backed resolution, which stripped Greene of her seats on the House Budget Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee.
“I have never encountered a situation like the one before us now, where a member has made such vile and hurtful statements, engaged in the harassment of colleagues and expressed support for political violence,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said before the vote.
“This is not about party. It’s about whether or not you will vote for decency and truth.”
Hoyer walked across the House floor, holding up a campaign photo showing Greene with an assault rifle next to three Democratic congresswomen - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar – and calling her their “worst nightmare.”
The vote to punish Greene, a first-term lawmaker from Georgia and ally of former President Donald Trump, came a day after the chamber’s Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, opted not to reprimand her.
McCarthy’s support of the controversial figure prompted a subtle dig at his expense from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi earlier in the week. In a statement she replaced the ‘R’ with a ‘Q’ referring to him as “McCarthy (Q-CA)”, alluding to Greene’s previous QAnon beliefs.
Republicans mainly attacked the resolution as a “partisan power grab” by Democrats and warned that punishing lawmakers for statements made before they entered office would set a dangerous precedent.
McCarthy accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of hypocrisy for not taking similar action against Democrats for controversial remarks, and warned that Thursday’s vote would rebound on Democrats once Republicans retake the majority.
‘I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true’
Hours before the vote, Greene delivered a speech on the House floor disavowing some of her previous statements.
“These were words of the past and these things do not represent me, they do not represent my (congressional) district and they do not represent my values,” Greene said.
“I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true, and I would ask questions about them and talk about them. And that is absolutely what I regret,” Greene added.
Before taking office last month, Greene voiced support for an array of unfounded conspiracy theories including the QAnon one saying elite Democrats are part of a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles and cannibals. According to CNN, Greene expressed support online for executing prominent Democrats including Pelosi.
Greene, 46, who said she was inspired to enter politics by Trump’s leadership, embraced his false claim that he won the November 3 election, alleged that deadly US school shootings were staged, suggested a space laser was used to deliberately start a California wildfire, and questioned whether a plane struck the Pentagon in the 2001 attacks on the United States.
In her speech, Greene disavowed belief in the QAnon conspiracy theory, acknowledged that school shootings really happened and the September 11 attacks did occur.
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