Tlaib signs onto resolution to expel fellow Rep. Greene

By: and - March 20, 2021 8:32 am

U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) filed a resolution, Friday to expel Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) from the House of Representatives for her role in inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and for threatening violence against Democrats before her November election. | Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Dozens of U.S. House Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) backed a resolution filed Friday to expel U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) from Congress, an extraordinary measure that’s only been successfully employed twice since the Civil War.

In her short time in office, Greene has made headlines for holding up House sessions with procedural votes, promoting QAnon conspiracies and attacking a survivor of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting.

U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez filed the expulsion resolution, after introducing it in January.The text of the legislation is simple, noting that Greene, is hereby “expelled from the House of Representatives.”

In a floor speech, the California Democrat cited Greene’s role in inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and press reports that revealed that before being elected, Greene had expressed support online for violence against top Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“I take no joy in introducing this resolution, but any member who incites political violence and threatens our lives must be expelled,” Gomez said.

The measure is unlikely to go any further, however.

An expulsion resolution requires a two-thirds majority in the House to pass, meaning it would need dozens of Republicans to sign on to be successful even if every Democrat supported it. And although Greene’s GOP colleagues have been griping about her use of procedural tactics to grind debate on the House floor to a halt, they are exceedingly unlikely to back a push to remove her from Congress.

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Pelosi had driven efforts to strip Greene from her committee positions, a rare move the House approved last month. Yet even Pelosi, at her weekly press conference on Friday, said she’s lukewarm on expelling Greene.

“I’m not going to get into that,” Pelosi told reporters. “Members are very unhappy about what happened here and they can express themselves the way they do. What Mr. Gomez did is his own view. That is not a leadership position.”

‘Radical socialists’

For her part, Greene swatted away the effort, claiming Gomez and the 72 Democrats who cosponsored the bill are “radical socialists” and have “declared me Public Enemy Number One.”

When asked for further comment, her spokesman sent along another tweet in which Greene claimed Democrats are threatened by “strong Republican Women.” Greene has also tweeted that “Democrats are trying overturn the will of the People who voted” for both her and Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa, whose November election in the state’s 2nd Congressional District is being challenged by Democrat Rita Hart.

Greene also insinuated that the effort was a conspiracy with social media giant Twitter after the platform suspended her account for 12 hours, a move Greene said she was told was an error.

Greene has also been fundraising off the expulsion effort, asking supporters to text a number and join her communications list. Her campaign sent out an email Thursday asking her supporters to donate $25 so she can have the “resources to defend myself in the public sphere.”

“I must be able to defend myself against these nasty smear tactics and show that you and I and the America First agenda are not going anywhere!,” the email read. “Make no mistake, the Radical Left, led by AOC and the Squad, are trying to remove me from office for defending President Trump. And as President Trump’s biggest supporter, I’ve become Enemy #1. But in reality, they’re not after me. They’re after you. I’m just in their way.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, and fellow Squad members Tlaib and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota are cosponsors of the legislation.

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks as Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) listen during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. | Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

In January, the Independent U.K. reported video footage of Greene walking through the halls of Congress before her election, claiming that Omar and Tlaib, who are Muslim, were illegitimate representatives for taking their oaths of office on the Quran instead of the Bible.

“We’re going to explain about how you can’t swear in on the Quran,” Greene said in the video. “We’re going to have the Bible and ask them if they would swear in on the Bible. … I think that’s important.”

However, the measure also has support from members across the ideological spectrum in the Democratic caucus.

For instance, the measure had the support of moderate lawmakers, including Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee; Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado; and Pennsylvania’s U.S. Reps. Brendan Boyle, Matt Cartwright and Susan Wild.

Several Florida lawmakers sponsored the measure: Reps. Kathy Castor, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Frederica Wilson.

Other members to sponsor the resolution include Arizona’s U.S. Reps. Ruben Gallego and Raúl Grijalva, Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio, Virginia Reps. Gerry Connolly and Donald McEachin, Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada, Rep. David Trone of Maryland, Rep. Dwight Evans of Pennsylvania and Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee.

The sole fellow member of Greene’s Georgia delegation to co-sign her expulsion was Rep. Nikema Williams, a Democrat who joined Congress this year after the death of Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.

“Congresswoman Greene’s comments and actions are dangerous, unpatriotic, and a clear threat to every Member of Congress,” Williams said in January, after backing an effort to censure Greene. “It would be irresponsible for us to allow her to use the ‘People’s House’ as a platform to peddle discredited conspiracy theories that only fan the flames of hatred and violence.”

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History of expulsion

Several members were expelled from Congress in 1861 and 1862 at the outbreak of the Civil War for supporting the Confederacy and secession. However, since then, only two members of Congress have been successfully expelled, and both were given the boot for financial corruption.

The most recent was Rep. Jim Traficant of Ohio, who was expelled in 2002 after being indicted on several counts, including tax evasion, racketeering and bribery. He served seven years in prison, and passed away in 2014, years after his release.

Before that, Rep. Michael Myers of Pennsylvania was the sole post-Civil War expulsion, after being caught on videotape accepting a $50,000 bribe as part of the Abscam FBI sting operation in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He served three years in prison.

The only expulsion before the Civil War happened in 1797, when Sen. William Blount of Tennessee was expelled for treason for helping the British in a ploy to conquer parts of Florida and Louisiana to keep them from French conquest.

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Daniel Newhauser
Daniel Newhauser

Daniel Newhauser is a freelance reporter for the Michigan Advance Washington bureau.

Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 21-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 4,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 70 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.