GOP’s untouchable loudmouths: Far-right Inside the House Republican conference, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) are untouchable.
What’s at stake: • They’ve already been stripped of their committees. Greene and Gosar may go to as many white supremacist conferences as they want, confident in the knowledge that they don’t need anything from leadership — and that leadership has nothing left to take from them. They have no need for or interest in the leadership’s endorsements or financial support. And their power stems from their ability to irritate the Republican leadership in Washington.
How the GOP’s untouchable loudmouth and leadership source told Axios.
• A GOP leadership source told Axios, “They literally have nothing tangible [to penalise them] in terms of the typical congressional mechanisms.”
Behind the scenes: Greene has boasted for years that she is impervious to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s wrath. Even after she and Gosar spoke at a conference of white supremacists hosted by Nick Fuentes, the outspoken Holocaust denier, antisemitic, homophobic, and racist activist.
• During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump reportedly bragged that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and kill someone and not lose any voters.”
• At a rally in Texas last month, Greene offered her own version of the claim, boasting that “Kevin can’t do anything about me.”
She is correct. McCarthy, even if he wanted to (which we’re informed he doesn’t), is powerless to punish her.
The Democrats have already removed Greene and Gosar from all of their committees, so they can’t be deprived of their committee responsibilities.
• “The Democrats have assisted in some ways,” a GOP leadership source told Axios. “It would be a lot more difficult for her and him to lead right now if they were both still on a committee.”
• There’s also no chance Greene and Gosar will be kicked out of the Republican Party. Even if McCarthy was whipping the votes as if his life depended on it, a two-thirds vote is difficult to imagine ever happening.
Greene doesn’t need the money or contacts to big-money donors that GOP leadership might be willing to provide her in exchange for good conduct.
She’s self-made and a fundraising juggernaut at the grassroots level, thanks solely to her strong appeal among Republican base supporters.
• According to Federal Election Commission records, Greene raised approximately $7.5 million in 2021.
• Only McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) raised more money among House Republicans.
• Individual donors provided nearly all of Greene’s funding; only a single corporate PAC contributed to her campaign last year, donating a meagre $2,500.
• Gosar’s funding prospects are grim. According to FEC statistics, he earned less than $350,000 last year. Gosar, on the other hand, has little issue fending off Republican primary rivals because he’s impossible to outflank on the far right.
• In a general election, neither is particularly vulnerable; the Cook Political Report rates both of their districts as strongly Republican.
Rep. Steve King of Iowa was removed of his committee responsibilities in 2019 after making comments sympathetic to white racists. But there’s nothing left to take away from Greene or Gosar now.
• A top Republican aide added, “MTG [Marjorie Taylor Greene] is worse than Steve King.”
• “With King, there was a way to get him out of the House,” the aide continued, “but Greene is a fundraising machine with a following who thrives in the spotlight.”
• “The most [House] Republicans can hope for is that she runs for Senate in the future.”
Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) called their attendance at the white nationalist gathering a “big mistake” that “confirms what folks like to say about us, which I feel is typically inaccurate.”
“It was a terrible error,” he said again when asked if there should be penalties.
• Crenshaw referred to the event’s organiser, Fuentes, as a “psychopath and antisemite,” adding, “Nobody should ever be speaking at any of his gatherings.”
• However, Crenshaw claimed such punishments are “always for show” and that he would not support either lawmaker’s primary opponent.
• Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) stated that his party “must make it very plain” that it is “100%, steadfastly opposed to white nationalism.”
• But, according to Bacon, the only thing the party can do is “make plain we don’t like it” and “give them the stiff arm and say it’s revolting.”
• “You’d think their districts would notice this and make a better decision,” Bacon said. “I’ll let their districts handle it.”
The bottom line: McCarthy acknowledged Monday that Greene and Gosar’s presence at the white supremacist gathering were “appalling and reprehensible,” but he’s made it clear that he won’t say anything more publicly about it.
McCarthy has told coworkers that he discussed the situation with Greene in private.
| A source familiar with McCarthy’s thinking said he’s “frustrated” by Greene and Gosar’s “continuous distractions.”
• “We have a fantastic opportunity to reclaim the House; we have a fantastic opportunity to position ourselves for ’24,” the person stated. “And you’ve got… people that don’t seem to want to keep the team front and centre.”
McCarthy’s spokesman declined to comment.
Greene said she didn’t know anything about Fuentes and his opinions when asked about her presence at the gathering.
• She stated that she was opposed to white nationalism.
• Her ally, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), defended her by pointing to a speech she gave to the organisation in which she said, “It doesn’t matter what your skin colour is… it matters who you are as a person.”