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WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy joined a quick chorus of outrage at Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., on Tuesday after she double-down on her comparison of Covid-19-related rules to the Holocaust.
“Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling," McCarthy said in a statement, after larging trying to ignore the controversial lawmakers. "The Holocaust is the greatest atrocity committed in history. The fact that this needs to be stated today is deeply troubling."
McCarthy added, “Americans must stand together to defeat anti-Semitism and any attempt to diminish the history of the Holocaust. Let me be clear: the House Republican Conference condemns this language.”
McCarthy did not say, however, whether Greene should face punishment for her remarks.
In a statement on later Tuesday, following the bipartisan criticism, Greene doubled down on her statement — attempting to blame “the media and the Democrats.”
"I'm sorry some of my words make people uncomfortable, but this is what the American left is all about," she said. "And they are America last in every single way.”
Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said in a statement Tuesday that Pelosi has spoken out against antisemitism for decades including on Monday.
“Leader McCarthy waited days to even issue a statement in response to one of his Members demeaning the Holocaust, and he clearly intends to continue to welcome Marjorie Taylor Greene in the GOP and shield her from any real consequence or accountability for her antisemitism," Hammill said. "Leader McCarthy’s silence has spoken volumes about his allegiance to the most extreme elements of the GOP Conference.”
The spokeswoman for House Minority Whip, Steve Scalise, R-La., said in a statement Tuesday, "He does not agree with these comments and condemns these comparisons to the Holocaust. We also need to be speaking out strongly against the dangerous anti-Semitism that is growing in our streets and in the Democrat party, resulting in an alarming number of horrific violent attacks against Jews."
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who replaced Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., as the chair of the House GOP Conference earlier this month, tweeted Tuesday, "Equating mask wearing and vaccines to the Holocaust belittles the most significant human atrocities ever committed. We must all work together to educate our fellow Americans on the unthinkable horrors of the Holocaust. #NeverAgain."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also denounced Greene on Tuesday, saying on the Senate floor that her most recent comments “are sickening, reprehensible comments, and she should stop this vile language immediately.”
Greene, who previously suggested that California wildfires were ignited by Jewish space lasers, tweeted Tuesday morning an article about the grocery store chain Food City allowing vaccinated employees to go maskless inside while wearing vaccination logos on their name badges.
Greene compared the logos to the yellow Stars of David, marked with “Jude,” the German word for Jew, that the Nazis required European Jews to wear on their clothing in public.
“Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star,” Greene tweeted, adding, “Vaccine passports & mask mandates create discrimination against unvaxxed people who trust their immune systems to a virus that is 99% survivable.”
The Jewish badges mandated by the Nazis were “a key element of their larger plan to persecute and eventually to annihilate the Jewish population of Europe,” according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. “They used the badge not only to stigmatize and humiliate Jews but also to segregate them, to watch and control their movements, and to prepare for deportation."
Greene provided no evidence to support her claim that vaccine passports and mask mandates lead to discrimination against people who are unvaccinated. Her claim that Covid-19 is 99 percent survivable also gives the impression that the disease is not that lethal. More than 594,000 people in the U.S. have died of Covid-19, according to NBC News' tracker.
In a follow-up tweet Tuesday, Greene wrote, "Pretty soon it will be.. 'We only hire vaccinated people, show your vax papers.' 'We only admit vaccinated students, show your vax papers.' 'These bathrooms are only for vaccinated people, show your vax papers.' Then.. ...scan your bar code or swipe your chip on your arm."
Lawmakers and others quickly condemned Greene on Tuesday.
Jeff Miller, a former adviser for McCarthy and a member of the Holocaust museum's council, tweeted Tuesday, that her tweet was "disgusting, ignorant and offensive."
"WTF is wrong with you? I think you need to pay a visit to the US Holocaust Museum," Miller wrote on Twitter. "If I’m wrong and you’re not ignorant about Holocaust..then you are disgusting."
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., tweeted, "A party that wants this person as a member is a party that should never be allowed to govern."
Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, also tweeted, "Woke up, read the Hawaii news, read the national news, got on this app, saw that a Republican House member is anti-Semitic and comparing vaccinations to the Holocaust, made coffee."
"A reminder she could have been defeated in the GOP primary in ‘20 but Kevin McCarthy chose not to. The GOP leadership wants the voters she brings with her," tweeted Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa.
After the ensuing criticism online over her posts, Greene then tweeted that she wasn't comparing Covid rules "to the Holocaust, only the discrimination against Jews in early Nazi years. Stop feeding into the left wing media attacks on me."
Last week, Greene compared the ongoing requirement to wear a mask on the floor of the House of Representatives to the Holocaust.
"This woman is mentally ill," Greene said about Pelosi, D-Calif., in an interview on the podcast "The Water Cooler With David Brody.” "You know, we can look back in a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star and they were definitely treated like second-class citizens — so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany, and this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about."
Democrats and a few anti-Trump Republicans denounced her comments, including Reps. Liz Cheney, of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. Cheney called the comparison “evil lunacy” and Kinzinger said her remarks amounted to “absolute sickness.”