Kevin McCarthy’s official position is minority leader, but as this week demonstrates, it is a titular role only.
McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, faces a conundrum in the form of Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, a freshman member who has been called a “cancer” on the Republican Party because of her “loony lies and conspiracy theories”—and that’s in the words of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
While Greene’s views are especially extreme, the dilemma McCarthy faces is an illustration of the broader problem for the Republican Party today: How do you hold one individual accountable for repugnant things you’d previously decided to indulge as a route to victory?
Greene’s list of horrifying statements and beliefs is too long to detail here, but it includes racism and bigotry of all sorts and the espousal of conspiracy theories including Pizzagate and QAnon. Many of these statements came to light during her run for Congress.
Nonetheless, Greene won her race in a safe Republican district and headed to Congress, where she has already reportedly harassed a Democratic lawmaker and filed articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden. More recently, old social-media posts surfaced in which she backed the execution of some congressional Democrats and blamed a major wildfire on a Jewish space laser. In what is either a cruel intentional joke or a breathtaking unintentional one, she was assigned to serve on the House Education and Labor Committee, as well as the Budget Committee.