News & Politics

Why Are Some References to the Holocaust More Acceptable Than Others?

Tom Williams/Pool via AP

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene recently compared mask mandates to the Holocaust.

Oh, dear. An over-the-top exaggeration? Of course. That’s what MTG is all about. And she took lessons from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are – they are concentration camps,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Instagram in 2019. “And if that doesn’t bother you … I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that we should not, that ‘never again’ means something,”

There was some grumbling from Democrats about the excessive language, but AOC defended her obscenities time and time again.

So why are some Republicans such as Rep. Adam Kinzinger calling for MTG’s ouster from the Republican conference?

“You can’t stop somebody from calling themselves a Republican,” the Illinois lawmaker said Tuesday to Politico referring to MTG. “What we can do as a party is take a stand and say you don’t belong in our conference. That’s what I think we should do. I think we should kick her out of the conference, prevent her from coming to conference meetings, benefiting from conference materials.”

If you’re unfamiliar with MTG’s antics, she had called several times for the assassination of Democrats in Congress prior to becoming a member, supported a theory that a Jewish space laser started a California wildfire, retweeted a call to take down the Democratic leadership following the January 6 riot, and threatened a member whose office was across the hall from hers. She lost her committee assignments for that.

Congress has had a lot of wacky members in 230 years. But the question is why Democrats put up with the antics of a woman of questionable abilities and intelligence while calling out MTG. Democrats know that Republicans always buckle to pressure put on them—by the media and many of their own members—to be vocal in their disapproval of exaggerated, excessive language. Democrats don’t face the same pressure, seeing themselves as “speaking truth to power,” where anything goes—even if it’s exaggerated or untrue.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has just about had it with MTG.

“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 California Republican said in a statement. “The fact that this needs to be stated today is deeply troubling.”

“Troubling” hardly covers it.

But McCarthy went on to accuse Speaker Nancy Pelosi of ignoring antisemitic sentiment in her own ranks — something that Democrats dismissed as little more than an attempt to distract from his own conference’s internal issues.

Democrats passed an anti-hate resolution in 2019 in response to remarks made by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) that were widely seen as antisemitic, and multiple top Democrats spoke out against Omar’s remarks at the time. During this spring’s conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas, however, members of Pelosi’s party took notable steps to elevate the rights of Palestinians that broke from decades of unquestioning bipartisan support for the Israeli government, exposing a rift among Democrats and the GOP alike.

“At a time when the Jewish people face increased violence and threats, anti-Semitism is on the rise in the Democrat Party and is completely ignored by Speaker Nancy Pelosi,” McCarthy said.

Pelosi sees AOC’s remarks as normal political combat. McCarthy sees MTG’s tweet as “appalling.” Just who is it that’s lowering the bar of civility in the House?