WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy denounced fellow Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene on Tuesday for comparing the wearing of COVID-19 masks to the Holocaust, a rare intra-party rebuke of the firebrand ally to former President Donald Trump.
“Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling. The Holocaust is the greatest atrocity committed in history. The fact that this needs to be stated today is deeply troubling,” McCarthy said in a statement.
“Let me be clear: the House Republican Conference condemns this language,” McCarthy said, without suggesting any disciplinary action.
His statement followed a Tuesday morning rant on Twitter by Taylor Greene, of Georgia, who had already drawn a backlash from Jewish groups for comparing the Democratic-controlled chamber’s mandate that members wear a mask on the House floor to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the yellow stars that Nazi Germany required Jews to wear.
It is the latest eruption between Republicans in the House, where McCarthy and other party leaders have sought to forge unity after ousting fellow Representative Liz Cheney from her No. 3 leadership role for denouncing Trump’s false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.
Earlier this year McCarthy and the House Republican caucus refused to take action against Taylor Greene for her prior incendiary remarks. When the party declined to act, the House did, with just 11 Republicans joining Democrats in the February vote stripping her of her committee assignments.
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