WASHINGTON – House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said if he becomes speaker of the House next year, he would reinstate Reps. Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene to committee assignments they lost.
Gosar was removed from his posts after he shared a violent doctored video of an attack on a fellow lawmaker and President Joe Biden, and Greene lost her assignments after she espoused multiple dangerous conspiracy theories.
But McCarthy, R-Calif., said Thursday if Republicans take control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections and he was voted in to be the chamber’s speaker, he would reinstate them.
“They’ll have committees. They may have other committee assignments,” said McCarthy, R-Calif., during a news conference. He then went a step farther, saying, “They may have better committee assignments.”
Last week, Gosar shared an anime video that was edited to show him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and attacking Biden with swords.
The House voted Wednesday to censure him and remove him from his committee assignments – the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Natural Resources Committee – after many Democrats and Republicans denounced the post.
Ocasio-Cortez also serves on the Oversight Committee.
The video mimicked the theme song and introduction of “Attack on Titan,” a popular Japanese animation series. Twitter flagged the video for violating its rules against calls for violence. It was later deleted.
The House stripped Greene in February from the Education & Labor Committee and the Budget Committee for a litany of incendiary, conspiratorial and menacing social media posts before she was elected.
Before joining Congress, Greene had posted videos of her questioning whether the 9-11 terrorist attacks ever happened, stalking and taunting a teen survivor of the deadly Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and suggesting that space lasers were causing deadly wildfires in California.
She has said school shootings were staged by Democrats to promote gun laws and that “the stage was being set” to hang former President Barack Obama and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Both of those votes largely fell along party lines: two Republicans joined all Democrats to censure and remove Gosar from his committee assignments. Eleven Republicans voted to remove Greene.
In both instances, Democrats called on McCarthy to take action, while the minority leader remained mostly silent.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other Democrats have maintained that by removing Greene and Gosar they are establishing a precedent of taking action against lawmakers who endorse or share violence.
Several lawmakers told USA TODAY Wednesday that his post was amplified by Gosar’s ties to white nationalism, and the lingering impacts from the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Gosar promoted unfounded theories of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election and appeared at “Stop the Steal” rallies with Ali Alexander, a top organizer of the Jan. 6 protest.
Pelosi told reporters Thursday that “What happened yesterday brought shame to the House.”
She said Republicans are “endangering lives of members. They set a bad example for other people to endanger lives of people. It’s not just about members of Congress. It’s about the American people.”
However, McCarthy reiterated his threat Thursday that should the GOP retake the House in 2022, they would also censure individuals in “the Squad” – a progressive group of Democrats, and other members of the Democratic caucus, like Reps. Eric Swalwell and Maxine Waters of California.
Three House Republicans in June introduced a resolution to censure Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., for their comments regarding Israel.
Pelosi said it was “unlikely” Republicans would win the House but added: “We would not walk away from our responsibilities for fear of something they may do in the future.”
McCarthy said Republican would censure and remove Democrats in the future because, “Pelosi has set new policies here.”
Greene told VICE News on Wednesday she’d get her committee posts back.
“I’ve been told by Kevin McCarthy, I’ve been told by Steve Scalise, I’ve been told by everyone, of course I’ll get committee assignments back,” she told the outlet.
Contributing: Matthew Brown, Erin Mansfield, Christal Hayes, Ledyard King