Marjorie Taylor Greene’s latest stunt is proof the GOP has become a party of no policy at all

With nothing to fight for and no real platform beyond ‘owning the libs’, the Republican Party has hollowed itself out entirely. So it’s hardly surprising that the idea of kids dying from Covid ‘cracks her up’

Griffin Connolly
Washington DC
Wednesday 21 July 2021 21:43 BST
Marjorie Taylor Greene laughs off question about Covid deaths

Congratulations, Mitch McConnell. Congratulations, Paul Ryan. Congratulations, Newt Gingrich and Rupert Murdoch and Sean Hannity.

This is what’s become of your beloved Grand Old Party on your watch: a collection of knee-jerk reactionaries, nearly half of whom say they won’t get vaccinated against Covid, who find inspiration in a freshman congresswoman from Georgia who not so long ago subscribed to the QAnon conspiracy theory that Democrats and Hollywood elites live double lives as a secret society of Satan-worshipping, blood-sucking child rapists.

That congresswoman, Marjorie Taylor Greene, is back in the news for exactly the reasons you’d expect.

Twitter suspended Greene for 12 hours on Tuesday for a series of tweets earlier this week suggesting that Covid does not pose a danger to anyone who is not obese or over the age of 65. That claim is false on both fronts, violating the social media company’s terms of service on the ongoing pandemic, which has claimed a 66 percent uptick in cases in the US over the last week as the delta variant runs rampant and vaccine hesitancy persists, predominantly among Republicans.

Greene also said Covid vaccination should not be mandated by the government, despite the fact that there are no plans for a federal vaccine mandate, nor does any city or state in the country have a mandate (though they could.)

At a subsequent press conference on Tuesday, the congresswoman’s Smartest Person in the Room Syndrome was on full display as she falsely accused a reporter of violating her HIPAA rights for asking whether she herself had been vaccinated. She could have answered the question or, alternatively, courteously declined to answer.

Later, she laughed off a reporter’s comment that thousands of “skinny people” and “children” had died from Covid, rather than just the elderly and the obese. “Tia, you crack me up,” Greene said, smiling widely. “You know what? I think people’s responsibility is their own.”

Not only do the congresswoman’s responses to serious questions about the pandemic completely misinterpret the nature of the coronavirus and the purpose of HIPAA — a medical privacy law prohibiting doctors and entities from disclosing information about their patients without their consent — but they add more evidence that the House GOP would rather pander to their base’s fears of liberal overreach than lead from the front on the ongoing public health crisis.

As congressional Republicans continue abiding vaccine hesitancy among their constituents — and even tacitly encourage it — it’s impossible to view these last six months as anything but the sad, logical nadir of the conservative movement’s retreat into a cave of intellectual vacuity. With no concrete domestic policy agenda to fight for and only liberal proposals and bogeymen to fight against, conservatives across the country have seized on baseless conspiracy theories about the government-approved vaccines. The lack of trust in authority in this country runs so deep it has turned lethal for those on the right.

If Biden and Fauci are encouraging it, I don’t want it, so goes the thinking on these life-saving vaccines. Never mind that 99 percent of Americans who have died from Covid recently were unvaccinated, along with 97 percent who have been hospitalized from the disease.

The most pathetic elements within the House GOP are only making things worse. Flailing cynically for attention, these lawmakers have spread false accusations that the Biden administration is keeping a list of Americans who have been vaccinated (false) and dispatching feds to the homes of people who haven’t (also demonstrably false).

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert at CPAC two weekends ago: “Don’t come knocking on my door with your ‘Fauci ouchie.’ You leave us the hell alone.”

Congressman Jason Smith last Saturday on Twitter: “The Biden administration wants to knock down your door, KGB-style, to force people to get vaccinated. We must oppose forced vaccination!”

Congressman Dan Bishop earlier this month, also on Twitter: “[Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier] Becerra and Biden have you on a list and are going door-to-door. This is absurd, even by Dem COVID power trip standards. No one gets to make your health decisions for you – that includes the government.”

Again, none of this deadly rhetoric is true; it is all based on contrived, straw-man hypotheticals. But it does expose — once again — how the GOP has completely hollowed itself out from within. Its guiding ethos is not a forward-looking slate of policy ideas but a present-state reactionism to whatever the Democrats are doing. Which, right now, is urging Americans to get vaccinated.

This ethos — cultivated by Fox News and GOP leaders during eight long Obama years — even held when Democrats lost power during the Trump years.

The 2020 Republican National Convention was unlike any other incumbent convention in recent memory in that you’d have thought Joe Biden was president and Donald Trump the challenger. Instead of laying out Trump’s plans for the future, the RNC’s lineup was dominated by aggrieved conservatives railing against the specter of “Marxism,” “socialism,” and left-wing politicians who, they claimed, would stop at nothing to “abolish the suburbs.”

Party officials didn’t even bother crafting a party platform. Instead they recycled the one from four years prior, as if the world didn’t continue spinning, geopolitical forces didn’t continue shifting, and the climate didn’t continue changing.

Talk about a brain drain. Talk about lazy.

When the Associated Press called freshman Congressman Madison Cawthorn’s race in his favor last November, he didn’t share a message of unity or excitement about rolling up his sleeves and getting to work in Washington. No, the North Carolina Republican, 25, savored his big moment by trolling the libruhls with a three-word tweet: “Cry more, lib.”


Outrage, fear, and owning the libs — that’s what we’re left with among the next generation of Republican leaders already steadily gaining power and sway.

Cawthorn and Greene represent the new guard of conservatives, True Believers who sniffed the maggot-filled red meat McConnell and Hannity — and Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh before them — had been throwing down at their feet for years, shrugged, and scarfed it down. (The maggots in this analogy representing race-baiting, conspiracy-mongering, and disingenuous policy opposition, just so we’re clear.) Their conservative fanaticism is fundamentally different from McConnell’s and other GOP elites’ in that it is genuine and unbridled, not just a politically expedient act to rile up the base.

Greene and Cawthorn and Boebert — they are the base.

And with Donald Trump — still the most powerful person in the party — on their side, they’re coming for the GOP mantle.

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