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White House calls Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Jan 6 comments a ‘slap in the face’ of law enforcement

A constellation of far-right influencers mingled with members of Congress in New York City, where Republican attendees were told to brace for ‘total war’

Alex Woodward,Gustaf Kilander
Monday 12 December 2022 16:15 GMT
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Marjorie Taylor Greene says Joe Biden should be 'impeached'

The White House issued a furious response to far-right Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose remarks to a gala crowd in New York City about January 6 were a “slap in the face” of law enforcement and of the families of victims, according to a statement from the administration.

A crowd of far-right influencers, white nationalists, neo-fascist activists, and extremist European figures mingled with Republican members of Congress and allies of Donald Trump at a black-tie event in New York City, where Ms Greene suggested rioters “would’ve been armed” had she organised the attack.

At the group’s annual gala in Manhattan on 10 December, the president of the New York Young Republicans Club declared “total war” on the political left, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, whose reporters attended the gathering.

“We want to cross the Rubicon,” group president Gavin Wax told a crowd in the Upper East Side, according to the SPLC’s Hatewatch. “We want total war. We must be prepared to do battle in every arena. In the media. In the courtroom. At the ballot box. And in the streets.”

Among the figures in attendance were Steve Bannon, Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump Jr, along with members of white nationalist website VDARE, “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist Jack Posobeic, and several people connected to right-wing propaganda operation Project Veritas, according to Hatewatch and The New York Post.

In her closing remarks, Ms Greene, who was recently re-elected to a second term in the House of Representatives, mocked allegations that she led tours of the US Capitol in the days leading up to the attack, which was fuelled by baseless conspiracy theories and bogus claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent.

“Next thing you know, I organized the whole thing, along with Steve Bannon,” she said, according to video footage and reporting from the event.

“I will tell you something: if Steve Bannon and I organized that, we would have won,” she said. “Not to mention, it would’ve been armed.”

One rioter was fatally shot, and dozens of law enforcement officers were injured during the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021. More than 900 people have been charged in connection with the riots, including roughly 100 people charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily injury to an officer.

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates told CBS News that it “goes against our fundamental values as a country for a Member of Congress to wish that the carnage of [January 6] had been even worse and to boast that she would have succeeded in an armed insurrection against the United States government”.

He said Ms Greene’s “violent rhetoric is a slap in the face to the Capitol Police, the DC Metropolitan Police, the National Guard, and the families who lost loved ones as a result of the attack on the Capitol,” he added. “All leaders have a responsibility to condemn these dangerous, abhorrent remarks and stand up for our Constitution and the rule of law.”

Steve Bannon is seen leaving the New York Young Republican Club Gala on 10 December. (REUTERS)

Speakers at the right-wing event reportedly praised antidemocratic and authoritarian ideology, in front of an audience that included far-right European party members from groups like Alternative for Germany and the Austrian Freedom Party, among others.

Photos from the event shared on social media show Bannon posing for photographs with white supremacist Peter Brimelow of VDARE.

Donald Trump Jr is seen leaving the New York Young Republican Club Gala on 10 December. (REUTERS)

Newly elected members of Congress at the event included Georgia’s Mike Collins, Florida’s Cory Mills and New York’s George Santos, according to Hatewatch and The Post.

In his closing remarks, Trump Jr relied on familiar right-wing targets including Hunter Biden and LGBT+ people; Ms Greene at one point referenced a spurious Project Veritas video on LGBT+ education, claiming that it shows teachers “pass around dildos, buttplugs and lube,” she said.

She also appeared to lament the fact that congressional Republicans are unable to arrest and prosecute their political opponents.

“We cannot arrest people, we cannot prosecute people, and we cannot put people in jail,” she said. “That’s the job and the role of the Department of Justice and the FBI, and they are corrupt, they serve the Democrats’ agenda, and they will not help us one single bit.”

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