WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., spoke to a gathering of white nationalists who support Russian President Vladimir Putin, prompting a rebuke from the head of the Republican National Committee and others on Saturday.
“White supremacy, neo-Nazism, hate speech and bigotry are disgusting and have no place in the Republican Party,” said RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel.
Greene, who is barred from serving on congressional committees due to extremist comments, said she was unaware of the views of conference delegates and did not apologize for taking them the speech.
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In a tweet, Greene said she wouldn’t be drawn into “the guilt-by-association game in which you demand that every conservative justify everything said by anyone they’ve ever shared a room with.”
“I talked about God and freedom,” Greene said. “Nor will I turn down the opportunity to speak to 1,200 young patriots from America First because of some offbeat remarks from another speaker, however unsavory I find those remarks.”
The Georgia Republican appeared Friday night in Orlando at the America First Political Action Conference, an event designed to counter the conservative Political Action Conference in the same city.
Greene also appeared on CPAC, where she told reporters she didn’t support the Russian president: “Putin is a murderer, and he should never have invaded Ukraine.”
CPAC banned alternative conference organizer Nicholas Fuentes for his extremist views. The Anti-Defamation League has described Fuentes as a “well-known white supremacist expert and organizer”, who has expressed support for the country’s “white core demographic”.
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In his speech at his conference, Fuentes joked about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: “Now they talk about Vladimir Putin and Russia, and Vladimir Putin is Hitler – and they say that’s not a good thing.”
Smiling, Fuentes added that “I shouldn’t have said that”, then laughed.
The crowd at the America First conference chanted “Putin, Putin.”
At the CPAC event, former President Donald Trump shouted at Greene, joking that she’s “very shy” and “don’t like to say what she thinks, but she does it anyway” . The CPAC crowd cheered Greene.
Some conservative lawmakers and commentators have noted that top Republicans, such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have said nothing about Greene appearing before white nationalists.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, also appeared via video at the event.
“As Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep. Paul Gosar speak at this white supremacist, anti-Semitic, pro-Putin event, the silence from Republican Party leaders is deafening and empowering,” Cheney tweeted. “All Americans should give up this garbage and reject the Putin wing of the GOP now.”
The Democratic National Committee said in a statement that “in any other world, Greene speaking at a white supremacist conference where attendees defended Vladimir Putin and praised Adolf Hitler would warrant deportation. of the caucus, not to mention his advocacy of violence and a constant fight against – Semitism.”
Last year, the Democratic-led U.S. House banned Greene from serving on committees over comments that expressed support for QAnon conspiracy theories and threatened lawmakers.