Extremist members creating “enormous headache” for GOP leadership and “making life complicated” for vulnerable Republicans
The NRCC and Chairman Tom Emmer are refusing to comment on QAnon believer Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s “America First Caucus,” which espouses white nationalist ideals and promotes “uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”
But Greene is not the only extremist member of Congress giving GOP leadership an “enormous headache” – Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Emmer are refusing to hold disgraced congressman Matt Gaetz accountable as he faces a federal investigation for sex crimes. Republican leaders’ failure to distance their party from Gaetz and Greene’s toxic brands “might hurt the GOP’s goal of capturing House control” in the midterms as GOP strategists admit the radical members are “a problem” for the party.
While they continue to dodge questions about Greene’s racist platform, the NRCC has refused to return the $175,000 in campaign cash Greene funneled into their coffers. And as Gaetz’s scandal spirals out of control, the NRCC and several vulnerable Republican members are still holding onto Gaetz’s campaign cash.
The Hill: Republicans race for distance from ‘America First Caucus’
By Scott Wong and Mike Lillis
- Republicans from various factions in the GOP are racing to distance themselves — and the party at large — from a band of hardline House conservatives whose flirtation with forming a caucus espousing white nationalist views has ignited a firestorm of controversy on Capitol Hill.
- While the Republicans reportedly behind the group — including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green (Ga.) and Paul Gosar (Ariz.) — appear to have abandoned the project in the face of bipartisan criticism, their very interest has created an enormous headache for Republican leaders seeking to steer the party away from an image of racial insensitivity and appeal to a broader swath of voters, including women and minorities, in the post-Trump era.
- The America First Caucus, operational or not, has complicated that unifying message.
- GOP leaders avoided naming the nascent group, however, as well as the lawmakers behind it. And some Republicans suggested that’s because party leaders also face the awkward political reality that nativist politics — like that embraced by former President Trump — has been effective in animating the party’s conservative base.
- Indeed, Greene has emerged this year as among the most potent fundraisers in the House, pulling in an extraordinary $3.2 million in the first quarter, despite being stripped of her committee seats. By contrast, Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president, raised less than half that amount.
- House Democrats’ campaign arm isn’t letting leading Republicans off the hook that easy. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Monday called on its GOP counterpart to donate $175,000 in campaign cash that Greene pledged to contribute to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).
- “Minority Leader McCarthy and Rep. Tom Emmer have continued to cling to Marjorie Taylor Greene after the dangerous QAnon conspiracies she peddled egged on the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Now, The NRCC and Washington Republicans are standing by Marjorie Taylor Greene — and her $175,000 in campaign cash — just days after she attempted to form a white supremacist caucus in Congress,” DCCC spokesman Chris Taylor wrote in an email.
- “If McCarthy and Emmer have any courage at all, the NRCC would donate the $175,000 Marjorie Taylor Greene funneled into their coffers to an organization that combats white supremacist hate.”
- The NRCC did not respond to a request for comment.
AP: Gaetz, Greene flaunt new paths to power, testing GOP leaders
By Alan Fram and Brian Slodysko
- Congressional leaders have always faced rebels in their ranks. But Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene are presenting top House Republicans with a test of how to handle a new breed of Trump-era, social media-savvy firebrands.
- Gaetz, a third-term Floridian, and Greene, a Georgia freshman, have attracted more public attention lately than most junior members of Congress. Much of it hasn’t been positive.
- That’s confronting House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., with questions about whether the two hard-right provocateurs might hurt the GOP’s goal of capturing House control in next year’s elections. Party leaders must decide what, if anything, to do about them, and what impact any action would have on their supporters, who come from the GOP’s staunchly conservative base.
- Greene’s situation is murkier. In a recent case, after years of racially offensive statements by Iowa Rep. Steve King, GOP leaders turned against him in 2019 when he questioned why terms like “white supremacist” were offensive. He didn’t resign but lost his 2020 GOP primary.
- Over GOP objections, the Democratic-majority House stripped Greene of her committee assignments in February for her online recycling of violent statements and conspiracy theories. McCarthy denounced her statements but didn’t punish her.
- “It’s a problem,” said Sarah Chamberlain, who heads the Republican Main Street Partnership, an alliance of dozens of GOP centrists. “If Matt Gaetz becomes the face of the Republican Party, he can be used against us” by Democratic ads in moderate GOP districts, she said.
- Greene donated a healthy $175,000 to the House GOP campaign arm shortly before Democrats stripped her of her committee assignments, according to campaign finance reports.
- Gaetz last year donated to dozens of House Republicans.