One day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned of the “enemy within,” more revelations emerged about the direct connections between Republican House members and fascist militia leaders who staged the January 6 attack on the Capitol aimed at reversing the election victory of President Joe Biden.
In her weekly press conference on Thursday, Pelosi warned of threats to Democratic House numbers from far-right Republicans, focusing on Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. Pelosi denounced the Republican House leadership for her appointment to the Education and Labor Committee.
Greene is an adherent of the fascist QAnon conspiracy, which is centered on the belief that Donald Trump will usher in an apocalyptic cleansing of Satan-worshiping, child-sacrificing Democratic politicians in an event called “the Storm.”
Greene has advocated the execution of Democratic politicians, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Pelosi. She has also characterized the mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, as well as the 2017 Las Vegas massacre, as “false flag” events. Her anti-Semitic rants include smearing Holocaust survivor George Soros as a Nazi.
Trump’s conspiracy to overturn the results of the election, which culminated in the violent assault on Congress on January 6, was facilitated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican leadership in the House, who refused to acknowledge the Biden victory for weeks. A substantial majority of Republican House members and seven Republican senators voted against certification of the Electoral College vote in the hours following the removal of the fascist insurrectionists from the Capitol.
A lengthy article in the New York Times published Friday details the links between far-right Republican House members Greene, Lauren Boebert (Colorado), Matt Gaetz (Florida), Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar (Arizona) and several far-right militia groups, including the Oath Keepers, III Percenters and the Proud Boys.
The Times writes that Greene “has also displayed a fondness for some of the militia groups whose members were caught on video attacking the Capitol, including the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters.” It notes that Greene spoke at a pro-Trump rally in 2018, dubbed the Mother of All Rallies, where she praised militia groups as protectors against “a tyrannical government.”
On the same day the Times article was published, St. Louis Democratic Representative Cori Bush announced that she had moved her congressional office away from Greene’s “for the safety of my team.” She made the move after “Marjorie Taylor Greene came up from behind me, ranting loudly into her phone while not wearing a mask.”
Bush has called for the expulsion of Republican House members who were directly complicit in the coup attempt, something none of the Democratic leadership, including Biden, has supported.
Responding on Twitter, Greene attacked Bush as “the leader of the St. Louis Black Lives Matter terrorist mob who trespassed into a gated neighborhood to threaten the lives of the McCloskey’s.” Mark and Patricia McCloskey are notorious for pointing weapons at anti-police violence demonstrators who walked past their mansion in St. Louis last June.
The couple became Republican heroes and were invited by Trump to speak at the Republican convention, where they were presented as representatives of American suburbanites under threat from low-income minorities.
The response of the Biden White House to threats against Bush and other Democratic House members has been to remain silent, downplay the significance of the coup attempt, and oppose any measures against Republicans who worked with fascist militias.
In addition to Greene, the Times article cites four other Republican House members with ties to far-right militias and coup organizers:
Matt Gaetz (Florida)
Gaetz has endorsed the fascist vigilante group Proud Boys, using them as security for a “pro-American” rally held in Milton, Florida on October 23, 2020. He traveled to Wyoming on Thursday to speak at a rally demanding the removal of the third-ranking Republican in the House, Liz Cheney, for voting to impeach Trump.
Andy Biggs (Arizona)
Biggs, a lead organizer of the “Stop the Steal movement,” was a featured speaker at a 2019 event supported by the Patriot Movement AZ, AZ Patriots, and the American Guard. All three militias have been identified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Paul Gosar (Arizona)
The Times reports that Jim Arroyo, a chapter leader of the Oath Keepers in Arizona, said Gosar attended at least two Oath Keepers meetings about a year apart and visited another chapter “a few years earlier.” Arroyo recounts to the Times that when he asked Gosar if the United States was headed for a civil war, Gosar replied, “We’re in it. We just haven’t started shooting at each other yet.”
Lauren Boebert (Colorado)
Boebert has been frequently photographed with members of the far-right III Percenters, including a video where she is shown accepting a Glock 22 pistol from Cory Anderson, leader of “Colorado Boots on the Ground: Bikers for Trump,” and an avowed III Percenter.
Boebert was also photographed last year in front of the Denver Capitol with Robert Gieswein, another member of the III Percenters. Gieswein is facing charges for his role in the Capitol attack. He was photographed storming the Capitol on January 6 with Dominic Pessola, a former Marine and member of the Proud Boys.
The response of the Republican Party to the coup and its complicity in it has been to double down in defense of the fascists within its ranks and reaffirm its support for former President Trump.
On Tuesday, the Republican caucus in the Senate voted 45–5 to quash the impeachment trial of Trump. The following day, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy traveled to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort to apologize for mildly critical statements he made regarding the coup. McCarthy sought Trump’s blessing to continue as House Leader, after which he released a statement denouncing the impeachment trial and praising Trump’s commitment to help elect Republicans in 2022.
The brazen defense by the Republican Party of outright fascists is possible only because of the spineless refusal of Biden and the Democratic Party to demand any accounting by or reprisal against the Republican Party and its leadership for their complicity in Trump’s attempted coup.
Despite having won control of the White House and both houses of Congress, the Biden administration and the Democratic Party have, through their endless appeals for “unity” and explicit defense of the Republican Party as an institution, handed the initiative over to the Republicans. The Democratic leadership is downplaying the coup and covering up ongoing conspiracies by fascist forces supported by Republican office-holders.
In a revealing exchange Friday with a reporter, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki refused to back Pelosi’s warnings or comment on Greene’s threats. Only one member of the White House press corps even raised the issue at Psaki’s daily press briefing. She asked first if the White House agreed with Pelosi’s assessment that Congress faced “an enemy within.” Psaki dodged the question.
Later in the press conference, the reporter raised the issue again, saying: “I want to ask again about Marjorie Taylor Greene. I know you said earlier you would not like to comment on her, but it is a major story. Should a QAnon supporter, someone with a history of racist and anti-Semitic comments, harassing school shooting survivor families, be serving on a House committee?”
Psaki responded: “The reason I conveyed that is because we don’t want to elevate conspiracy theories further in the briefing room. So I’m going to speak to—I’m going to leave it at that.” As the reporter attempted to follow up, Psaki cut her off and added, “We’ll leave decisions about committees to leaders of Congress and we’ve certainly seen Speaker Pelosi speak to that.”
The exchange made clear that the Biden White House will not even defend members of its own party against violent threats from Republican House members. This will only further embolden the Republican Party, which has become an incubator for the development of a fascist movement and its integration into the political establishment.