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Rick Hess Straight Up

Education policy maven Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute think tank offers straight talk on matters of policy, politics, research, and reform. Read more from this blog.

Federal Opinion

GOP Should Yank Marjorie Taylor Greene from House Ed. Committee

By Rick Hess — February 02, 2021 2 min read

Last week, freshman House Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene was assigned to serve on the House Education and Labor Committee. It’s an awful decision that’s looking worse by the day. Committee Chairman Bobby Scott, D-Va., quickly denounced the move for failing to “reflect [a] commitment to serving students, parents, and educators.” The House Democratic leadership has deemed Greene unfit and made clear that, if the Republicans don’t reverse the decision, they will move to boot her from her committee assignments via a floor vote.

Now, in my experience, there’ve been times that Democrats on the education committee have unfairly denounced Republicans for sensible, even admirable stances. This is not one of those times. The Democrats are absolutely right.

The question is how House Republicans will respond. GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has said he’ll be meeting with Greene to discuss her assignment. In 2019, McCarthy stripped former Rep. Steve King of his committee assignments after a meeting for remarks that were far less egregious than Greene’s.

The Georgia Republican traffics in unhinged conspiracy theories such as QAnon (which holds that prominent Democrats are engaged in a global, Satan-worshipping child sex-trafficking ring). Last week, it became clear that she’s embraced a raft of other craziness, including the theory that an international Jewish conspiracy has sought to torch California using space lasers. And CNN even reported that Greene has expressed support online for executing leading Democrats.

But of particular relevance for our purposes is that Greene has spread poisonous calumny about school shootings—which should be reason enough for Republicans to want her nowhere near a congressional educational committee. Of the 2018 Parkland school shooting, in which 17 students and staff were murdered, Greene has stated, “That’s all true” in response to a Facebook post insisting that the shooting was “fake” and asserting “none of the School shootings were real or done by the ones who were supposedly arrested for them.”

When another Facebook user claimed that Parkland “was a false flag planned shooting,” Greene replied, “Exactly!” When one commenter claimed that the murder of 20 elementary school children and six staff at Sandy Hook in 2012 was a “STAGGED [sic] SHOOTING,” Greene indicated her approval. In December 2018, Greene declared, “I am told that Nancy Pelosi tells Hillary Clinton several times a month that ‘we need another school shooting’ in order to persuade the public to want strict gun control.” And when Education Week gave Greene a chance to recant or clarify these comments last week, Greene’s spokesperson declined.

Look, there are a lot of important disagreements that belong on the House Education and Labor Committee. Greene’s deranged denials of the tragedies at Parkland and Sandy Hook do not. McCarthy and the House GOP should do the right thing and pull Greene from the committee.

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The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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