Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) called for Republican House leaders to take action against QAnon-supporting Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) over her violent and conspiratorial rhetoric, saying on Sunday that stripping her of her committee assignments would “send a message.”
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Portman—who recently announced that he will not seek reelection in 2022—spent much of the interview hemming and hawing over whether or not he’d support impeaching former President Donald Trump for inciting the insurrectionist Capitol riot earlier this month.
“If you don’t vote yes aren’t you excusing it? You say it is inexcusable,” anchor Dana Bash confronted the outgoing senator. “If you don’t vote yes, one could argue you are doing just that. You are excusing the behavior.”
Portman, meanwhile, contended that Trump’s actions “can be inexcusable and yet not be subject to a conviction,” adding that he isn’t sure that the Senate impeachment trial is constitutional since Trump is no longer in office. (Portman voted for Sen. Rand Paul’s motion to reject the impeachment on constitutional grounds.)
Eventually, Bash swung the conversation to Greene, who continues to be an ardent supporter of Trump’s attempt to overthrow Joe Biden’s decisive election victory. In recent days, Greene has come under fire over past comments and social media posts in which she endorsed the execution of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, claimed a Jewish space laser caused California wildfires, harassed a Parkland shooting survivor, and said mass school shootings were “false flags.”
Greene, meanwhile, has remained unapologetic in the face of the mounting criticism over her unhinged conspiracy-mongering, claiming she is the victim of a “radical, left-wing Democrat mob” that is trying to “take her out.”
“She has so far faced zero repercussions from what she has said and the ideas that she is spewing,” the CNN anchor noted, referencing the lack of action so far from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
“So as a Republican leader who does not want to be silent, do you think that she should be punished or somehow it should be shown that she is an example of how that kind of stuff is not tolerated in the GOP?” Bash further asked.
“I think Republican leaders ought to stand up and say it is totally unacceptable what she has said,” the Ohio lawmaker replied. “I saw a couple videos over the weekend and one had to do with violence, as I see it. There is no place for violence in our political dialogue.”
Portman went on to say that “people ought to speak out clearly” against Greene’s behavior, prompting the State of the Union host to press him on whether that means stripping Greene of her plum assignment on the House Education Committee.
“I assume that is something they’re looking at and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens,” he responded. “You know, I think that is the way to send a message.”
Hedging a bit, Portman also said the voters in her district “ought to be respected,” but did conclude: “On the other hand, when that kind of behavior occurs, there has to be a strong response.”