Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene chatted with supporters at the Georgia Faith and Freedom Coalition Luncheon in Atlanta in January. Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder
WASHINGTON — Georgia Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is doubling down on her decision to give a speech at a far-right conference with ties to white supremacists over the weekend.
In a statement released Sunday night, Greene argued that she went to talk to audience members about “America First” policies.
“We’re going to focus on people, not labels,” she said. “We’re going to focus on protecting the nuclear family, our border, our jobs, and our children.”
But Greene’s attendance at the event brought critical statements from Republicans like U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as a former county chairman in her own congressional district.
Romney said during an interview with CNN that “anybody that would sit down with white nationalists and speak at their conference was certainly missing a few IQ points.”
Greene was in Florida to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference, but made a surprise appearance at the America First Political Action Conference, which was organized by white nationalist Nick Fuentes. Both conferences were in Orlando.
Fuentes also attended the 2017 white nationalist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where James Alex Fields Jr, a neo-Nazi, ran his car into counter protesters, killing one.
U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican, also gave a brief video address to the America First Political Action Conference. The House in November voted to censure Gosar and strip him of his committee assignments, following his social media post of a manipulated cartoon that depicted him attacking Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Joe Biden.
When questioned by a CBS reporter about why she spoke at a conference with white supremacist ties, Greene said she was unaware of Fuentes’ views. When she was told Fuentes was a white supremacist, said she did not endorse those views.
“I won’t cancel others in the conservative movement, even if I find some of their statements tasteless, misguided or even repulsive at times,” she said in her statement.
Republicans in her own district expressed dismay.
Andy Garner, the former chairman of the Floyd County Republican Party, said in a statement obtained by the Rome News-Tribune that the GOP party needed to stand up to Greene.
“This is not who we are,” he said.
Attendees at the America First Political Action Conference praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine last week.
“She accepted an invitation and spoke to a group of known white supremacists who cheered Russia and chanted ‘Putin, Putin’ BEFORE she spoke,” Garner said. “She spoke anyway.”
State Sen. Russ Goodman, a Cogdell Republican, said in a speech Monday he was disgusted by the conference attendees’ chanting. Goodman said that supporting Putin’s actions is an affront to America, drawing applause from his colleagues.
“It is unfathomable to me that anyone American may call themselves an American with what’s going on in the world today can chant ‘Putin and Russia,’” Goodman said. “Anyone that gives aid and comfort to the enemy – I’m going to tell you they are not deserving of the title to be called an American.”
McConnell in a statement obtained by Politico condemned white supremacists after he was asked about the members’ attendance at the conference.
“There’s no place in the Republican Party for white supremacists or anti-Semitism,” he said, though without referring directly to either Greene or Gosar.
Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, wrote on Twitter that Greene was now using her official U.S. government “congressional account to promote anti-Semitic, white supremacist, pro-Hitler, pro-Putin conference.”
“This is a toxin in the bloodstream of America,” Cheney said. “It must stop.”
Greene’s personal Twitter account was banned after she kept tweeting false information about the coronavirus.
Cheney was removed from her leadership positions after she refused to perpetuate the falsehood that the former president and many GOP lawmakers push that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
Earlier this year, Greene was stripped of her committee seats after she perpetuated antisemitic stereotypes, pushed baseless QAnon theories and called for violence against Democratic leaders on social media.
Georgia Recorder Senior Reporter Stanley Dunlap contributed to this report.
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