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Feb. 1, 2021, 4:27 p.m. EST

Freshman congresswoman from Georgia poses challenge to Republican unity in Biden era

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans have a Marjorie Taylor Greene problem. Again.

Before she joined the House this month, Greene supported Facebook posts that advocated violence against Democrats and the FBI. One suggested shooting the chamber’s top Democrat in the head. In response to a post raising the prospect of hanging former President Barack Obama, Greene responded that the “stage is being set.”

Some Republicans condemned the activity.

The Georgia Republican has expressed support for QAnon conspiracy theories, which focus on the belief that top Democrats are involved in child sex trafficking, Satan worship and cannibalism. Facebook /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB -0.29% videos surfaced last year showing Greene had expressed racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim views. Top Republicans denounced her at the time, hoping to block her from capturing the GOP nomination in her reliably red congressional district in northwest Georgia.

The opposition faded, however, when Greene won the primary and was essentially guaranteed a seat in Congress. By the time she was sworn into office, Greene had been invited for a ride with President Donald Trump on Air Force One.

See: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene gets 12-hour Twitter suspension for ‘multiple’ violations

Republican leaders are now confronting a conundrum of their own making. The party largely embraced Greene after she won the primary, making it harder for them to distance themselves from her now, especially when many of her views were already well-known at the time they fell in line behind her.

The dynamic raises questions about the GOP’s ability — or interest — in moving past Trump-style politics after the former president spent years advancing conspiracy theories of his own and later declared QAnon adherents patriotic Americans who were in his corner.

“Trump didn’t hijack the party — the party became Donald Trump,” said Stuart Stevens, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, a conservative group that staunchly opposes Trump. “They’re radicals.”

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, told MSNBC on Thursday that he was hopeful that, while Trump may remain an important figure in the party for a time, he is not the GOP’s central figure. Corker said he hopes never to see Trump at the top of the party ticket in the future.

CNN reported on Greene’s Facebook posts, which have since been deleted. She tweeted responses before the story was posted that didn’t dispute their authenticity or disavow them, saying instead: “Many posts have been liked. Many posts have been shared. Some did not represent my views.”

Still, there’s greater pressure on political leaders to address extremism after a pro-Trump mob staged a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

California Democratic Rep. Jimmy Gomez announced Wednesday night that he was readying a resolution to expel Greene from Congress because of her past social-media activity.

In a statement to Axios, a spokesman for House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy called the posts “deeply disturbing and Leader McCarthy plans to have a conversation with the Congresswoman about them.”

It’s unclear when that conversation may happen. McCarthy planned to fly to Florida on Thursday to meet with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort, reportedly at McCarthy’s request.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York joined fellow Democrat Gomez in expressing the view that McCarthy is unlikely to display a firm hand should that promised conversation with Green come to pass.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the Greene posts “disgusting,” adding that they have “no place in our party” and “should be looked into.”

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