A television interview with Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) on Sunday underlined the choice facing Republican lawmakers as they debate the future of the party: stand with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who voted to impeach President Donald Trump, or defend Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), as the freshman congresswoman confronts a rash of criticism over her history of social media posts advancing conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric towards high-profile Democrats.
Portman, a moderate Republican who recently announced he will not run for reelection in 2022, called on party leaders in an interview with CNN to “stand up” and say that Greene’s positions in the social media posts are “totally unacceptable.”
Pressed on whether he endorses punishing Greene—something few Republicans have indicated they support—the Ohio Republican called for a “strong response” and said stripping the congressman of her committee assignments would be one way to “send a message.”
Greene has come under fire in the past week over old Facebook posts in which she endorsed executing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and former President Barack Obama and touted wild conspiracy theories, as well as other controversies.
The Georgia congresswoman, who gained a huge following after showing support for the crackpot QAnon conspiracy theory last summer, has claimed other people running her account were responsible for the posts that have been questioned, and said Saturday she has the support of former President Donald Trump.
During the interview, Portman also rallied to the support of Cheney, the third most powerful GOP lawmaker in the House, as the congresswoman faces calls to resign or step down from her leadership post over her vote to impeach Trump.
“It’s important to have her voice in the process and my sense is she has a lot of support” in the GOP conference, Portman said.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, another one of the ten Republicans to vote to impeach Trump, also called for Greene to be stripped of her committee assignments during an interview with NBC’s Meet The Press on Sunday. Kinzinger blasted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for recently visiting Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort, claiming the Republican Party was not a “Trump first party” but a “country first party. The president “is desperate to continue to look like he’s leading the party,” the congressman added.
Some avidly pro-Trump Republicans have launched a movement to oust Cheney as conference chair, a manuever that would ultimately require support from two-thirds of the 211-member Republican caucus. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) traveled to Cheney’s Wyoming district on Thursday to rally voters against the Republican. Gaetz called Cheney “disloyal” and told the crowd he had spoken to Trump the night before, and that he had lent his support for the movement to bring Cheney down.
— to www.forbes.com