On the one hand, I really hate to give any kind of attention to the antics of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), an unhinged far-right conspiracy theorist that Georgians for some reason elected to represent them in Congress. On the other, it feels irresponsible not to at least acknowledge the fact that a sitting member of U.S. Congress spoke at a white nationalist conference Friday night—one that enthusiastically cheered on murderous dictators Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler—hours before being warmly welcomed at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), a mainstream Republican event.
CBS News repeatedly pressed Greene this morning about her appearance at the racist rally, hosted by the notorious white nationalist political commentator Nick Fuentes, and she used the old ostrich “head-in-the-sand” defense, claiming that she had no idea that Fuentes or the conference espoused such sickening values.
“I do not know Nick Fuentes, I’ve never heard him speak, I’ve never seen a video, I don’t know what his views are, so I’m not aligned with anything that may be controversial,” she said. “What I can tell you is I went to his event last night to address his very large following, because that is a young—it’s a very young following, and it’s a generation I’m extremely concerned about.”
The CBS reporter pressed her again, bluntly: “It’s a white nationalist group.”
“Excuse me, excuse me a minute,” Greene responded. “I’ll tell you exactly why I went. I went to talk to them about ‘America First’ policies, and I talked to them about our country going forward. Now in regards to Russia, Putin is a murderer and he should have never invaded Ukraine.”
CBS continued to press Greene several times about the fact that she spoke at a white nationalist conference, and she continued to deflect and speak a bunch of word salad.
It should be noted that there is actually zero chance in hell that Greene and her entire congressional staff had no idea she was addressing white nationalists.
Greene is, unfortunately, not the first overt white nationalist in Congress. Former Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) espoused white supremacist views and amplified the messages of neo-Nazis in Congress for nearly a decade before losing his primary race in 2020. As HuffPost reporter and Steve King documentarian Chris Mathias noted, King is “the one who said Dreamers—young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children—have calves the size of cantaloupes ‘because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.’”
If politicians like Greene and King appear to be any kind of aberration in the Republican Party, it’s only because they are willing to say the quiet part out loud, which is that they hate immigrants and people of color. Other GOP members of Congress may not be so wildly ignorant as to speak at a white nationalist conference, but their policies and their tacit approval and acceptance of their more vocally racist members speaks volumes.
Greene was stripped of her committee assignments last year for having endorsed the execution of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)—again, very normal!—but she is still in Congress, she is still voting on issues that affect us all, she is still a vocal member of the Republican caucus, she is still welcomed at CPAC. No one is fooled.