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House GOP leader called 'Qevin' after feigning ignorance of QAnon and refusing to punish Marjorie Taylor Greene

Mr McCarthy denounced QAnon last August

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 04 February 2021 18:03 GMT
Ilhan Omar says GOP 'becoming the Looney Tunes'

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy was mocked after pretending he was unfamiliar with QAnon in an attempt to deflect criticism for selecting conspiracy pushing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for major House committees.

The comment was made after a private meeting between the House GOP leader and the freshman Congresswoman. He claimed that she apologised to Republicans for her former views and that he was unsure what QAnon was. Mr McCarthy appeared to stumble over the word "QAnon" while defending Ms Greene.

“I think it would be helpful if you could hear exactly what she told all of us – denouncing Q-on, I don’t know if I say it right, I don’t even know what it is,” Mr McCarthy said. “Any from the shootings, she said she knew nothing about lasers or all the different things that have been brought up about her.”

Was he lying?  Or just suffering from amnesia?

The House GOP leader condemned the QAnon conspiracy movement in August and said he did not agree with its adherents' beliefs.

His first mention of QAnon was actually made while addressing reporters' questions about Ms Greene shortly after her primary win in Georgia. Reporters asked if the party should be distancing itself from her.

“People get elected from their district – I’ve had discussions with Marjorie Greene, she won that primary,” Mr McCarthy said, before referencing the conspiracy theory. “She recently came out and denounced the Q, uh… organisation, whatever beliefs, I do not agree with their beliefs at all. And she denounced those, I believe everyone has an opportunity from that standpoint. The discussions I have had with her, I think she will continue to work to show people that lots of times in press today they imply something different.”

Later that night, Mr McCarthy was invited to speak on Fox News, where he again denounced QAnon, this time directly.

“Let me be very clear,” Mr McCarthy emphasised. “There is no place for QAnon in the Republican Party. I do not support it and the candidate you talked about has denounced it.”

Ms Greene came under fire in recent days after troves of her social media posts were discovered to have contained unhinged conspiracy mongering and even support of threats to the lives of elected officials.

The posts were all made prior to her time in office. In one, she liked a comment advocating for the assassination of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In another, she stalked David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland, Florida school shooting, and harassed him on the street for what she believed was his attempt to attack the Second Amendment. Ms Greene has previously agreed with sentiments from right-wing conspiracy theorists that the Parkland School Shooting was a staged event, presumably by Democrats, to try to steal away people's guns.

Another uncovered video shows Ms Greene arguing that the votes of Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib did not count because they took their oaths of office on a Quran instead of a Bible, as both women are Muslim.

The revelations prompted fellow freshman Rep. Cori Bush to move her offices away from Ms Greene's out of concern for her safety.

Mr McCarthy signalled for more than a week that he planned to have a discussion with Ms Greene about her conspiracy posts, and House Democrats pressured him to strip her of her committee assignments.

The hosts on MSNBC's Morning Joe took shots at Mr McCarthy for lying and for his failure to punish Ms Greene for harassing the survivor of a school shooting and wishing death on her political opponents.

“He’s lying!” Willie Geist, one of the hosts, said, “Back in August, he said there is no place for Qanon in the Republican party. He said it on tape. Like at a news-gathering. I don’t know what he thinks he’s doing there.”

Joe Scarborough called him "Dumb Kevin" during the show for his attempt to feign ignorance.

The word "Qevin" began trending on Twitter, as politicians and social media users took swipes at the Republican lawmaker.

"When Mitch McConnell – who lives by Pres. Reagan’s rule on never speaking ill of another Republican – warns of a “cancer” in the ranks, Qevin McCarthy, Q-CA, would do well to heed the advice of another US President, Pres. Kennedy, on the dangers of embracing extremism," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote. She was referencing a video of former President John F Kennedy's inaugural address, in which he said "those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside".

Following Mr McCarthy's meeting and failure to punish Ms Greene, Ms Pelosi took further aim at the GOP leader.

"After several conversations and literally running away from reporters, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Q-CA) made clear that he is refusing to take action against conspiracy theorist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. As a result, the House will continue with a vote to strip Greene of her seat on the esteemed House Committee on Education & Labour and House Committee on Budget," she wrote.

"McCarthy's failure to lead his party effectively hands the keys over to Greene – an antisemite, QAnon adherent and 9/11 truther. McCarthy's cowardly refusal to deal with Greene breaks with calls from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, the Republican Jewish Coalition and several prominent members of the party to take action against Greene."

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