On Friday, conspiracy-minded freshman Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene set off a weekend of intense criticism by comparing vaccine passports to the yellow badges that Nazi Germany forced Jewish people to wear during the Holocaust. Tuesday, after reflecting on the seriousness of the matter, Greene repeated the comparison, then issued an impressively demented anti-apology about the whole thing.
Last week, during a discussion about whether House members should document their vaccination status before they take off their masks indoors, Greene told the Christian Broadcasting Network host David Brody “we can look back in a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star, and they were definitely treated like second-class citizens—so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany and this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.”*
On Tuesday, Greene used her Twitter account to once again compare the administration of mass immunization to the administration of mass murder, saying, “Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.”
When people complained about that, Greene put out a florid statement denouncing the existence of the controversy, attacking Democrats as the real antisemites, and saying she was “sorry some of my words make people uncomfortable.” For good measure she threw in some material about “critical race theory (pure racism),” “gender destruction,” and, as one does when one is deeply concerned about antisemitism, “globalism.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean and director of global social action of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization focused on Holocaust research and remembrance, says that Greene’s nonapology “misses the point.”
“We see misappropriations of Shoah symbols all over the place,” Cooper says. “Every time we have this kind of deflection and misappropriation it chips away at collective memory and the responsibilities we have.
“These kinds of manifestations have a very corrosive impact on collective memory,” he added.
Despite her latest antisemitic outburst, Greene remains a member in good standing of the House Republican Conference. After days of pressure and Greene repeating remarks that he had initially failed to address, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy put out a statement, saying, “Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling.”
Rather than imposing any sort of accountability on Greene herself, McCarthy’s statement then pivoted to endorse one of Greene’s key messages, dedicating a paragraph to the claim that “anti-Semitism is on the rise in the Democrat Party and is completely ignored by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.”
Then, having let his conference member off the hook, McCarthy concluded:
Let me be clear: the House Republican Conference condemns this language.
The last time McCarthy and House Republicans condemned Greene’s clearly antisemitic language was when it was revealed that she had endorsed a theory that wealthy Jewish bankers started a 2018 California wildfire by firing space lasers in order to line the pockets of other wealthy Jews. Shortly after that, McCarthy and all but 11 members of his conference voted against removing her from the House Education and Labor Committee.
Previous to that, Greene had promoted an antisemitic conspiracy video in which a narrator said “an unholy alliance of leftists, capitalists, and Zionist supremacists has schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation, with the deliberate aim of breeding us out of existence in our own homelands.”
Following McCarthy’s mealy-mouthed statement, Greene retweeted and then deleted a tweet calling McCarthy a “moron” and a “feckless c**t.”
Correction, May 25, 2021: This post originally misidentified the Christian Broadcasting Network as the Christian Broadcast Network.