So much for “we will not back down,” eh? As the House convened to debate whether to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments, the frosh Georgia representative offered a little contrition over some of her rhetoric before coming to Congress. Greene claimed to have stopped believing the QAnon conspiracy theories in 2018, affirmed the reality of both 9/11 and school shootings, and asked her colleagues to judge her on her performance in Congress than on the past.
Framing it around an argument against “cancel culture” and saying the media is “as guilty as QAnon” might make this pitch a little less effective:
“I never said” these things after becoming a member of Congress. “These are words of the past,” Greene said. “None of us are perfect.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) February 4, 2021
If this is what got a standing O from half of the House Republican caucus, they must be an easy audience. Greene makes some good points, at least indirectly, about setting precedents regarding rebukes for past behavior outside of Congress. Blaming the media for accurately reporting that behavior, as Greene concedes at one point, doesn’t exactly build confidence that Greene’s going to get serious in the near future. Kevin McCarthy made Greene sound a lot more contrite in describing her speech in the caucus meeting last night, and maybe it was. But given Adam Kinzinger’s reaction, it probably wasn’t.
Will this be enough to get House Democrats to back down? Almost certainly not. A direct and explicit apology might have derailed the push to strip her of her committee assignments, but even that might not have sufficed at this point. Greene’s too much of a target now to simply switch to a censure, which arguably would not apply anyway, given the lack of jurisdiction over her words and actions before Greene came to Congress. Democrats are building national ad campaigns around Greene, which means that they can’t just let her go with nothing but a rhetorical rebuke.