Everyone knows Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., flirted with fringe conspiracy theories before her election to the House in 2020. Democrats are trying to kick her out of Congress for these ill-advised remarks made prior to her run for office — remarks voters had the opportunity to consider before electing Greene.
As many as 61 Democratic members of the House are willing to co-sponsor Rep. Jimmy Gomez’s, D-Calif., resolution in favor of her removal. “It should not be left to the whims of the Republican Party — Congress must act to ensure she is removed from her committee assignments,” Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz wrote in a letter to other lawmakers.
Yes, Greene made stupid, questionable remarks prior to serving in government. Yet many people have made ill-advised comments prior to (and after) being elected — Rep. Ilhan Omar’s, D-Minn., “It’s All About the Benjamins” tweet is a prime, awfully antisemitic example.
Yet it’s not wise for Congress to begin purging duly elected lawmakers based on their prior and fully legal rhetoric. If we accept the notion that our elected officials work on behalf of our interests, their campaign to undermine the electoral process cannot be tolerated.
In November, Greene won Georgia’s 14th Congressional District by more than 152,000 votes (74.6 percent). She prevailed by such a substantial margin not only because the district leans heavily red, but also by running a grassroots campaign and aligning herself with the America First movement, which is prominent in rural areas that feel disenfranchised by corporatism. Greene’s wild statements, shameful as they were, do not give Congress the right to disenfranchise thousands of American citizens.
Now, whether these election voters have now lost interest or support for Greene is another story. We are only being given the national story from the mainstream media and Democrats—which is that Greene has supposedly betrayed her oath.
Notwithstanding that it is odd and illogical to say that a lawmaker can betray an oath prior to even taking it, the broader issue points to a trend: Democrats will do anything and everything to belittle Republican voters. For four straight years, conservatives were vilified in the press as racist, white supremacist bigots. It was exhausting. The purge of Greene will set us down a course where the Democratic majority is incentivized through historical precedent to outlaw Republicans for much lesser offenses, based on an arbitrary process.
Many on the left side of the aisle continue to openly support causes significantly viler than the dug-up rhetoric from Greene. In February of last year, all Democratic senators except Bob Casey, D-Pa; Doug Jones, D-Ala; and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., voted against The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act and The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The former would have mandated medical care for babies who survive abortion, the latter prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks.
Failing to pass this kind of law has effectively made the United States one of seven countries worldwide that allow abortions in this time span, joining the ranks of Communist China and North Korea. No one is saying the Democrats who effectively support such atrocities should be barred from office by Congress, yet it is apparently sensible to consider barring Greene for countenancing wild ideas.
In the U.S. Congress, words seem to matter more than actions. While Democrats in Congress and their media allies flirt with the removal of a lawmaker for comments she made prior to stepping foot on Capitol Hill, over which voters could have decided not to elect her, The New York Times still has yet to mention that Rep. Eric Swalwell slept with a Chinese spy.
Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution, also known as the Expulsion Clause, states that “Each House may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderedly behavior and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.” The reason James Madison advocated for a two-thirds vote was to reliably deter against a sectarian interest or minority that seeks to unjustly overthrow the republic.
From 1861 to 1862, 17 individuals were expelled for supporting the Confederacy. Aside from this, only three others have been expelled: Democratic-Republican Sen. William Blunt in 1797 for aiding the British in colonizing West Florida among other crimes; Democratic Rep. Michael Myers in 1980 for bribery in the FBI ABSCAM operation; and Democratic Rep. Jim Traficant in 2002 for bribery, racketeering, and tax evasion. All in all, this amounts to only 20 members in 213 years.
Just as Democrats now seemingly want to set a precedent that normalizes one party attempting impeachment whenever it fits their political ends, setting this precedent for expulsion from Congress would be just as unscrupulous. Invalidating an election decided by voters over the information they could have taken into consideration before casting their ballots would politicize a process used to remove lawmakers who criminally violate the public trust.
Two things can be true at once: (1) Greene can be identified as an oddball un-representative of the sort of candidate Republicans should want to put forward, but (2) the idea of removal based on remarks that pale in comparison to historical precedent would be dangerous for future elections. Greene might be a bad apple among Republicans, but the left’s disdain for Republican voters who fail to abide by their orthodoxy runs just as deep.
Censuring Greene, thereby stripping her from her committee assignments, is a different story. While the majority of cases of congressmen being censured involved illegal involvement, several examples may in fact prove to be slightly compared to this. From 1867 to 1921, six congressmen have faced censure: all for “using unparliamentary language.” However, it is important to note that such language occurred while the lawmaker was actually serving in Congress—not an American citizen like Greene with no prior accountability to Congress.
If Democrats wholeheartedly believe Greene is bad, they ought to let the process work, permitting her to stay in Congress as elected and facing the voters for proper accountability. This present misguided effort, though, will only stir more distrust among Republican voters who already feel disenfranchised by Washington elites already verifiably out of touch with the overwhelming public.
Unity may be the narrative preached by the newly elected President Biden, but Democrats don’t seem to be truly interested in it. If this is what unity looks like, we best prepare for endless revisionism to historical precedent based on wild partisanship.