She apparently just learned about the Holocaust.
Calling Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) controversial would be, well, putting it lightly. But of all her divisive statements, among her most concerning are the ones she made comparing COVID-19 face mask requirements to the Holocaust, the massive genocidal campaign which killed millions of people, mostly Jews. But for once, Greene appears to be backtracking. After a June 14 visit to the Holocaust Museum, Greene issued a public apology for (some of) her comments. However, Twitter doesn’t seem to be buying her apology, and these tweets about the press conference she held after her Holocaust Museum visit are a lot.
“This afternoon, I visited the Holocaust Museum,” Greene said in a Monday conference outside the U.S. Capitol Building. “The Holocaust is — there’s nothing comparable to it. It’s — it happened, and, you know, over six million Jewish people were murdered. More than that, there were not just Jewish people — Black people, Christians, all kinds of groups. Children. People that the Nazis didn’t believe were good enough or perfect enough.” While there is no single comprehensive list of those killed in the Holocaust, the genocide targeted primarily Jews, along with marginalized groups including LGBTQ+ people, the disabled, and ethnic minority groups such as the Roma. She added, “There is no comparison to the Holocaust. And there are words that I have said, remarks that I have made, that I know are offensive, and for that, I want to apologize.”
Greene, however, didn’t rescind her statements comparing Democrats to Hitler’s political party, the National Socialist Workers Party, aka Nazis. In a comment on her previous statements, she called socialism “extremely dangerous” despite the fact that experts agree that — contrary to the name — Nazism was a fascist movement, not a socialist movement.
Following the press event, people all over Twitter were calling Greene out — for her apology, which many have characterized as incomplete and insincere, as well as her apparent ignorance of the horrors of the Holocaust before she began using it as a political talking point. Not knowing about the Holocaust, as a sitting legislator referencing it publicly, isn’t exactly a good look.
As many pointed out, these comments were hardly the first time the representative had shared wild, even anti-Semitic comments. In a 2018 post via Facebook, Greene seemed to blame ongoing wildfires in California on Jewish “space lasers.” (She later denied her comments were anti-Semitic.) While this may seem like a shaky conspiracy theory your unhinged aunt might share to your feed, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have become disturbingly mainstream for the Republican party’s base.
Greene’s comments cause true harm. As many Jewish individuals and publications pointed out, comments like these perpetuate conspiracy theories about Jewish people secretly controlling the world, often via money or some shadowy power network. The spread of these anti-Semitic conspiracy theories can lead to fear, othering, and even acts of violence against the Jewish community.
Greene first made the mask comparison during a May 20 episode of The Water Cooler. “You know, we can look back at a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star, and they were definitely treated like second class citizens,” Greene stated, criticizing calls for legislators to be vaccinated and wear masks. “So much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany.”
Greene later doubled down on her comments via Twitter, attempting to blame “the media and Democrats” for “left wing media attacks.” “I stand by all of my statements, I said nothing wrong,” Greene stated during a May 22 interview with CNN.
Museum visit aside, it seems like mounting backlash from her own Republican party prodded her to issue her June 14 apology: “Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) said in a May 25 statement regarding her mask comments. “The Holocaust is the greatest atrocity committed in history. The fact that this needs to be stated today is deeply troubling,” he added. “Let me be clear: The House Republican Conference condemns this language.”
While Greene may be one of the most divisive members of Congress, she succeeded in achieving one nearly impossible feat: uniting party members from both sides of the aisle, if only for a moment.