AOC Asks Who’s Leading the House GOP — Kevin McCarthy or Peddlers of QAnon?

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) is warning that the GOP has “legitimate white supremacist sympathizers” among its ranks.

During an interview on MSNBC Wednesday night, Chris Hayes asked Ocasio-Cortez how it felt to see Republicans call to “just move on” after the violent Capitol breach incited by former President Trump earlier this month. Ocasio-Cortez explained that, although Trump had lost his re-election bid in November, Republicans still posed a major threat.

“It really felt that, last term, the Republican caucus was one of extreme fealty to Donald Trump. There were some that were true believers, others that simply remained quiet out of cowardice and out of fear of the president’s retribution,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “But this term there are legitimate white supremacist sympathizers that sit at the heart and at the core of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives.”

She also noted that Republican leaders in the House didn’t seem interested in confronting their most malignant members, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), who has endorsed a number of appalling views in the recent past, including QAnon-related and 9/11 conspiracy theories, speculations that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a staged event, and disturbing comments about executing members of Congress, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The Georgia lawmaker has also espoused anti-Muslim and antisemitic views in her posts.

Greene’s comments from before she became a member of Congress received renewed scrutiny this week following reporting from CNN and other news outlets, but they have long been known, including by the Republican Party, as they had been the main subject of a primary election in her home state last fall.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-California) unwillingness to reprimand Greene, Ocasio-Cortez said, made her wonder “who actually has that power” in Republican congressional leadership.

“It increasingly seems, unfortunately, that in the House Republican caucus, Kevin McCarthy answers to these QAnon members of Congress, not the other way around,” she added.

Ocasio-Cortez went on to criticize McCarthy, who is planning to “have a conversation” with Greene about her views and commentaries, according to the House Minority Leader’s spokesperson. Ocasio-Cortez questioned the utility of that approach, noting that Republican lawmakers rarely face consequences from their leadership over such matters:

When I hear that Rep. McCarthy is going to pull a member aside who has made white supremacist-sympathizing comments, the thing that I think is, what is he going to tell them? Keep it up? Because there are no consequences in the Republican caucus for violence. There’s no consequence for racism. No consequence for misogyny. No consequence for insurrection. And no consequence means that they condone it.

While leaders in the Republican caucus have not expressed much in terms of how to respond to Greene’s comments and actions, some on the other side of the political aisle have said she deserves to be removed from Congress altogether. Even before the renewed scrutiny of Greene’s comments were made this week, Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colorado) stated Greene may deserve to be expelled from the House, following attacks on the U.S. Capitol building.

“We’re looking at our options within the House as to how we stop this. And whether this is an expulsion proceeding, a censure, we can’t let this stand,” Crow said at the time.

On Wednesday, Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-California) announced he would be introducing a resolution to expel Greene in the coming days.

Greene’s “very presence in office represents a direct threat against the elected officials and staff who serve our government,” Gomez said in a statement, “and it is with their safety in mind, as well as the security of institutions and public servants across our country, that I call on my House colleagues to support my resolution to immediately remove Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from this legislative body.”

The U.S. Constitution permits the expulsion of legislators. “Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member,” the document states.