Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) spoke at a white nationalist conference over the weekend — and even after facing widespread criticism, the far right lawmaker has continued to defend her presence at the event.
Greene attended the America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC), which was held in Orlando, Florida, concurrent and in opposition to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). AFPAC organizers believe CPAC speakers and Republicans in general are not far enough to the right politically; their leader, reactionary Nick Fuentes, has regularly expressed admiration for fascists.
Greene has tried to justify her presence at AFPAC by claiming that she wasn’t aware of the viewpoints held by the audience or the event’s headliner, tweeting that she wouldn’t be drawn into a “guilt by association game” that demands conservatives “justify anything ever said by anyone they’ve ever shared a room with.”
But Greene’s claim that she wasn’t aware of Fuentes’s antisemetic views is dubious considering that he spoke onstage directly before her; in his speech introducing Greene, Fuentes questioned why criticism of Adolf Hitler was warranted. Notably, Greene herself has frequently made inappropriate and inaccurate comparisons of pandemic rules to the Holocaust.
Greene has also said that she would have spoken at AFPAC even if she had previously known about the lawmaker’s views, adding she would not “turn down the opportunity to speak to 1,200 young America First patriots because of a few off-color remarks by another speaker, even if I find those remarks unsavory.”
Several lawmakers, including members of Greene’s own party, rebuked her for sharing the stage with a white nationalist. On Monday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) said that Greene’s decision to attend AFPAC was “appalling and wrong,” although he didn’t indicate if the Georgia lawmaker would face any repercussions for her action.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) also criticized Greene for speaking at AFPAC, and blasted McCarthy for not doing more to lessen her influence in the GOP.
“Does Marjorie Taylor Greene know no shame? We know the answer is no, but what about Kevin McCarthy?” the DNC wrote in a statement. “Time and time again he has shown he will do anything for power — even if it means elevating the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene.”
Greene has shrugged off criticisms from Republicans, and has continued to describe the white nationalist event in glowing terms.
“The Pharisees in the Republican Party may attack me for being willing to break barriers and speak to a lost generation of young people who are desperate for love and leadership,” Greene said. “But I won’t abandon these young men and women, because I believe we need to do better by them.”