Mitch McConnell has criticized the “wacky lies and conspiracy theories” promoted by Georgian Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, as a “cancer” of the party.
Comments by senior US Senate Republican reflect intensifying conflict that has erupted within the party since losing the White House and both Houses of Congress, as well as the fallout from the Jan.6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Ms Greene, 46, is a first-term member of the United States House of Representatives and has become a lightning rod for critics due to her promotion to QAnon, an extreme right-wing extremist ideology based on a series of false claims. She also tried to reverse the results of the November presidential election.
Ms Greene also faced a backlash for retweeting endorsements of political violence, including the execution of Democratic lawmakers and FBI agents, before running for office.
“Someone who suggested that maybe no planes hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrific school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s plane doesn’t live in reality, “McConnell said in a statement to The Hill newspaper. .
“It has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the intense substantive debates that can make our party stronger.”
Mr McConnell’s comments came as Ms Greene faced actions from Democrats who control the House to strip her of her committee powers in response to her views, with some feeling physically threatened by the lawmaker’s presence and its supporters.
Cori Bush, a Democratic congresswoman from Missouri, said she was forced to move her office away from Ms Greene’s after an altercation over wearing a mask with the congresswoman.
New York Democratic MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also expressed concern about security in Congress following the January 6 attacks.
She offered a heartbreaking account of the assault on Capitol Hill on Instagram Live on Monday. “I hear those huge, hard bangs on my door, then all the doors that come into my office,” she said. “It was like a zombie movie.”
Ms Greene’s forceful rebuttal by Mr McConnell contrasts with the approach taken by Kevin McCarthy, the top House Republican, who met Mr Trump last week at his resort town of Mar-a-Lago in Florida and is expected to discuss the member’s fate with her this week.
Ms Greene has remained defiant despite mounting criticism. “The real cancer for the Republican Party is weak Republicans who only know how to lose gracefully,” she said on Twitter in response to Mr. McConnell’s comments. “This is why we are losing our country.”
Mr McConnell also defended Liz Cheney, a member of the Wyoming House and third-rank Republican in the House, who voted for impeach Mr. Trump for instigating an assault on the Capitol. Ms Cheney has faced calls to be removed from her party leadership for defying the former president.
“Liz Cheney is a leader with deep convictions and the courage to act on it. She is an important leader in our party and in our country, ”said Mr. McConnell.