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Rep. Greene’s speech at white nationalist event draws new calls for reprimand

UPDATED: Sat., Feb. 26, 2022

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., answers questions during a panel discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla.   (Associated Press)
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., answers questions during a panel discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla.  (Associated Press)
By Greg Bluestein The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene headlined a white nationalist conference in Florida where attendees cheered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and chanted the name of President Vladimir Putin shortly before she was introduced.

The Rome lawmaker was the surprise guest at the America First Political Action Conference in Orlando, a group organized by Nick Fuentes, who has been labeled a “white supremacist” by federal prosecutors.

The appearance on Friday triggered new calls for the GOP to rebuke Greene, who has largely escaped reprimand from her own party for a history of racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic comments.

And it underscores a growing trend on the party’s far right as some Republicans echo former President Donald Trump’s praise of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Trump has repeatedly complimented Putin and said the Russian military attack against a U.S. ally was “genius” and “very savvy.”

Greene’s remarks largely echoed her statements at other public events, where she’s lashed out against “cancel culture” and tried to frame Democrats and mainstream Republicans as enemies of the state.

“I have been attacked more than any other freshman member of Congress in United States history,” she said.

Fuentes, who advocates for preserving the nation’s “white demographic core,” introduced Greene by praising “young white men” and encouraged a round of applause for Russia.

Greene’s long history of hateful statements includes her past support for the dangerous pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory, her promotion of lies about school mass shootings, and her endorsement of social media posts that called for the execution of lawmakers.

Twitter also recently banned one of her personal accounts after she repeatedly spread lies about the coronavirus.

House Democrats, along with 11 Republicans, took the unprecedented step in February 2021 of stripping Greene of her committee assignments. But senior House Republicans have stood by her, as have some Georgia GOP leaders who actively sought her support.

That’s in part because she’s emerged as a fundraising power and a favorite of the party’s right flank since her election to an open seat in northwest Georgia. She often draws hundreds of supporters to her events in Georgia and elsewhere around the nation.

And though state Republicans recently redrew her district to include a left-leaning swathe of Cobb County, Greene is still heavily favored to win another term in November.

Some conservative analysts questioned whether party leaders would sanction Greene after appearing at the conference, which also drew Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona.

“Do House GOP leaders have any thoughts, or are they too focused on Liz Cheney?” said Guy Benson, a Fox News radio host who referred to the Republican National Committee’s vote to censure Cheney, a GOP lawmaker from Wyoming, for working on the House’s investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Cheney, for her part, called the gathering that Greene headlined a “white supremacist, anti-Semitic, pro-Putin event.”

The “silence by Republican Party leaders is deafening and enabling,” she added. “All Americans should renounce this garbage and reject the Putin wing of the GOP now.”

On Saturday, the Republican Jewish Coalition released a statement that it “condemns in the strongest possible terms” Greene’s appearance at the AFPAC event.

When The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reached out to Greene’s office, she didn’t comment. However, when confronted by the media on Saturday, she said she did not know Fuentes, had never heard him speak and doesn’t know what his views are. In a clip from CBS News, she also noted that Putin should not have invaded Ukraine and that she’s against the war.

On Saturday, Greene was among speakers at the better known Conservative Political Action Conference, also being held in Orlando. Trump was expected to speak at CPAC Saturday night.

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©2022 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at ajc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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