At times during the Trump presidency, I felt like I was the only one speaking out against Trump. My isolation was not only in the columns I wrote. One would look at the letters to the editor which mirrored the ideas of my fellow columnists who discussed politics. It was few and far between for anyone to criticize the Trumpian columnists no matter how extreme their positions had become. It was not because everyone agreed with them. I would frequently receive support via email or in person, from those who agreed with what I say. Some would also tell me that I am the only one in the paper who they agree with. However, they were afraid to say anything publicly because of fear of being berated in the paper or in the community. Someone told me that if they came out against Trump they would lose their job. Now there is a new president, and maybe the tide is starting to change. In the January 28 Queens Jewish Link, there were two letters to the editor taking to task the comments of three of the Trumpian columnists. Another letter from a frequent critic begrudgingly admitted that “there are just too many people who think like Warren Hecht.” Keep it going. I look forward to the day when the majority of the letters will be in support of the new administration and against the Trumpians.
Now on to the main story. When “The Squad” burst on the scene, there was a debate about how to deal with them. Trump and his supporters were trying to paint The Squad as the face of the Democratic party. The non-Trumpians were in a bind. Do you try to sanction them or do you try ignore them? My position was that you try to marginalize them.
The Republicans have their own squad, led by Georgia freshman representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. I am not going to get into a debate whether she suffers from mental illness. I am only addressing the politics of dealing with her comments.
A few examples include her comments on November 17, 2018, concerning the cause of the devastating fire in California. “I find it very interesting that Roger Kimmel on the Board of Directors of PG& E (Pacific Gas & Electric) is also Vice Chairman of Rothchild Inc. an international investment banking firm.” “A laser beam or light beam coming down to Earth. Could that cause a fire?”
In 2018, Ms. Greene wrote “That is all true.” in response to a Facebook post alleging among other things that “9/11 was done by our own government to work at whittling away our rights,” and “None of the school shootings were real.”
Ms. Greene also liked a meme that was posted to her Facebook page in June 2018 claiming that “Schumer, Pelosi, Clinton, President Barack Obama and their Democrat friends … can’t have Trump repeal DACA as it would show DACA was used by them … for human trafficking pedophilia in high places and organ harvesting.”
In January 2019, she accused Nancy Pelosi of treason. “And it’s, uh, it’s a crime punishable by death, is what treason is. Nancy Pelosi is guilty of treason.”
She liked a Facebook post about certain FBI agents. “These Traitors need to be put to death as an example of what will no longer be tolerated in our country!!!”
This has put the Republican leadership in a bind as to what to do. Unlike Trump, who put his two cents in when dealing with The Squad, Biden has been quiet. This way it does not become a partisan issue.
The Republican’s leadership approach so far is baffling. They put Ms. Greene on the education and labor committee. It is like putting a person who is an anti-vaxxer and COVID-19 denier as a member of the committee whose responsibility is to oversee the country’s response to the virus. Moreover, having her on the committee will repeatedly remind people that Ms. Greene indicated that she believed that Sandy Hook and Parkland killings were fake.
Minority leader Kevin McCarthy stated that he would sit and talk with her. I’m sure Ms. Greene is shaking in her boots. This is same guy who on January 6 blamed Trump for the insurrection at the Capitol and three weeks later went to Mar-a-Lago to kiss Trump’s ring.
In contrast to Republican reluctance to even criticize Ms. Greene, many in the Republican party have been going after the 10 courageous members of the House Congress who voted to impeach Trump.
Although Ms. Greene is receiving most of the attention, she has some other cohorts, such as Lauren Boebert from Colorado, who has expressed support for QAnon and made comments on January 6 which implied support for those who were storming the Capitol.
There are Democrats who want to expel Ms. Greene. I disagree with their approach. It is an extreme step which is anti-democratic since it goes against the will of the people. Ms. Greene’s conduct does not rise to that level. Firstly, her comments were made before she was elected. Many of the people in her district were aware of some of these comments yet elected her. That may say something about the people of her district. Nevertheless, Ms. Greene should not be rewarded with any committee assignments. If the Republicans make her a pariah in her own party like they did to Steve King, then maybe she will be voted out next time.
There is only one person who it could be argued should be expelled: It is Rep. Mo Brooks, who at the rally on January 6, exhorted the crowd, “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking [expletive].’’ They took him up on his word and did so. Even after the insurrection, Brooks stood by his comments. There is currently a bill to censure him.
Unfortunately, in this highly polarized society there are extremists on both sides. It is best for the country for each party to marginalize the radicals in their party. If not, things are only going to get worse and the extremists will gain power.