As pressure builds for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to strip QAnon-loving Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) of her committee assignments, Fox News has latched onto a new talking point to run defense for the conspiracy-mongering lawmaker: equate her violent and bigoted rhetoric to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
Greene has come under scrutiny over the past week after a bevy of her violent and unhinged past comments resurfaced—including social-media posts where she seemingly approved of calls for executing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or claimed that a space laser owned by Jewish bankers was responsible for California wildfires. The Trump-boosting freshman lawmaker, who also once posted a video of herself harassing a Parkland shooting survivor, has alleged that several mass school shootings were “false flags.”
While a growing number of Republicans have criticized Greene and even joined Democrats in calling for her to be reprimanded, a group of far-right House Republicans introduced an amendment this week to counter Democratic proposals to remove Greene from her committees.
The amendment, which would replace Greene’s name with Omar’s, is attached to a Democratic resolution stripping the Georgia lawmaker of her assignments. House Democrats have given McCarthy until Thursday to act before sending the resolution to the floor for a vote. (House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer indicated Wednesday that McCarthy wouldn’t act and that the House will instead vote on the Democratic resolution.)
On Wednesday morning, Fox News anchors—following primetime host Tucker Carlson repeatedly defending the extremist congresswoman—began parroting this defense of Greene on its “hard news” programs, framing the push to remove Greene from House committees as reflective of a Democratic “double standard.”
While moderating a panel discussion on America’s Newsroom, for example, anchor Bill Hemmer described the longshot GOP amendment as a “tit-for-tat,” noting that Omar faced accusations of anti-Semitism over her critical comments about pro-Israel groups, notably her “all about the Benjamins” tweet that sparked outrage and eventually resulted in the House passing a resolution condemning anti-Semitism.
While liberal Fox News contributor Juan Williams said that the two situations are “not equivalent at all,” Hemmer continued to push back, saying, “A lot of people take [Omar’s comments] to be anti-Semitic” and directly comparing the two.
“We can have arguments over Israel and we can even say that we think some of them are anti-Semitic. And we can have repercussions. Justified repercussions for anti-Semitic statements but what [Greene] is doing is a whole different kettle of fish,” Williams retorted.
“One might be weird and kooky.... the other is seen as racist,” Hemmer interjected, seemingly forgetting that much of Greene’s most controversial comments and actions are overtly anti-Semitic and Islamophobic in nature.
The following hour, news anchor Harris Faulkner further framed the Greene ordeal as a “double standard,” criticizing Democrats for being “silent when Omar remarked political support for Israel was ‘all about the Benjamins’” and—adding to the equivocating—when “Rep. Maxine Waters called for the public harassment of Trump White House officials.”
During a panel segment, Faulkner wondered if Democrats should “also be willing to kick out one of their own,” declaring that people must “compare these situations” between Omar and Greene. Liberal panelist Leslie Marshall began reading off a list of Greene’s more violent and conspiratorial remarks, but Faulkner quickly jumped in.
“Nobody is excusing this behavior. Do you let the voters figure it out both for Greene and for Omar and potentially for others?” Faulkner pondered. “How do you handle it is the point. We all know what dangerous behavior and offensive behavior—we know what it looks like. Do you let the voters decide or do you want to take that away from them?”
Marshall clarified that the issue is not about removing Green from office but is specifically about booting her from the powerful education committee. Faulkner replied, “Maybe the voters want to be represented in that high-profile way.”
“They didn’t vote for her to be on the education committee,” Marshall reminded her host. “They didn’t vote for her to be on the education committee, but a member of Congress.”
Faulkner later interviewed Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), one of the sponsors of the Omar-Greene amendment, who said, “You have statements from Ilhan Omar, Nancy Pelosi, and Maxine Waters, a whole plethora of folks while they are sitting here that made offensive or dangerous statements as well. And we are really trying to say look, if it’s good for the goose it’s good for the gander.”
“It is an interesting point,” Faulkner nodded, before once again driving home the both-sides argument: “By the way, I want to point out to our audience that no one is defending what either of these women said.”
In response to Republicans’ attempt to deflect the controversy over Greene by focusing on Omar, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) tweeted on Tuesday, “Get a grip on reality. Rep. Ilhan Omar didn’t belittle a school shooting survivor, claim that no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, insist lasers started the CA wildfires, or endorse the assassination of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives.”
Fox News echoing the GOP’s defense of Greene, meanwhile, came hours after Greene herself unleashed an inflammatory attack on Omar, whom she has targeted with Islamophobic attacks in the past.