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Congress

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said she is not recruiting members for the so-called "America First Caucus," after members of Congress from both sides of the aisle condemned the caucus's overtly racist and white supremacist platform.

A spokesperson for Greene, Nick Dyer, told CNN on Sunday that Greene was "not launching anything," and even tried to distance the Georgia Republican from the offensive rhetoric in the caucus platform that Greene had been sending around.

Dyer told CNN that Greene "didn't approve that language and has no plans to launch anything."

It's a clear reversal from Greene's comments on Friday, when Dyer told reporters that Greene would be launching the caucus "very soon," after Punchbowl News first obtained the caucus platform.

And after the racist platform for the group was leaked, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) quickly said he was "proud to join @mtgreenee in the #AmericaFirst Caucus."

But the backlash to the caucus — which espoused the white supremacist "Great Replacement" theory that says non-white immigrants pose a threat to the white race — was swift.

Democratic members of Congress did not mince words.

"The Civil War is over and the racists lost. But some House Republicans are still fighting the battle. That's what the so-called America First Caucus is all about," Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), chair of the House Democratic Caucus, tweeted on Saturday.

"A more accurate name for new organization of House Republicans led by Marjorie Taylor Greene would be the White Supremacist Caucus," Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) tweeted on Friday.

Even Republicans condemned the effort.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — who once said Greene made the House Republican conference "diverse" and the country should give her an "opportunity" — condemned her group shortly after news of its existence broke.

McCarthy tweeted on Friday: "America is built on the idea that we are all created equal and success is earned through honest, hard work. It isn't built on identity, race, or religion. The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln & the party of more opportunity for all Americans — not nativist dog whistles."

Meanwhile, Rep. Barry Moore (R-AL), one of the Republicans who Punchbowl News reported had agreed to join the caucus, also distanced himself.

"I fully support President Trump's America First agenda & policies that prioritize hardworking Americans. But I will not agree to join any caucus until I've had an opportunity to research their platform — which I haven't done with the AmericaFirst Caucus & therefore haven't joined," Moore tweeted on Saturday.

Greene's apparently failed attempt at launching a white supremacist caucus within the House is just the latest in a string of problems she's caused her party since she first came to Congress in January.

Greene was kicked off her House committees in February after news surfaced that she had "liked" violent threats against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on social media.

Greene has also slowed down House business by forcing pointless votes to end House business in order to try to delay passage of bills, including the coronavirus relief package.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

In the minds of Trumpistas, conservative Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska committed an unpardonable sin when, earlier this year, she voted "guilty" during former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial for "incitement to insurrection." Trump devotees are hoping to unseat Murkowski via a 2022 GOP senatorial primary, and Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka is campaigning on an overtly Trumpian platform — slamming Murkowski for failing to honor Trump,

CNN reporters Manu Raju and Alex Rogers explain, "Nearly a dozen years after overcoming a Tea Party-inspired challenge from the right, Murkowski again is facing a Republican seeking to claim the mantle as the most aggressive version of today's GOP — or in this case, the Trumpiest. Republican Kelly Tshibaka, a former Alaska Department of Administration commissioner, has offered herself as a vessel for the supporters of the former president, who won the state twice, as she lambasts Murkowski for her penchant for deal-cutting and breaking with Trump."

Raju and Rogers, in an article published by CNN's website on April 19, describe the Murkowski/Tshibaka competition as "the first proxy battle between Trump, whose top political advisers have joined Tshibaka's campaign, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is backing the nearly 20-year incumbent." And they note that the Alaska GOP senatorial primary puts Republican senators and the National Republican Senatorial Committee "in an awkward position as they remain divided about the former president's role in the party" and "try to unify ahead of the 2022 midterms with control of Congress at stake."

In an interview with CNN, Tshibaka promoted the false claim that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election — in contrast to Murkowski, who acknowledged Joe Biden as the legitimate president-elect after the 2020 election.

Tshibaka told CNN, "We don't know the outcome of the 2020 election. In the 2020 election, there were questions raised in several states, and we're not allowed to look into the questions of those allegations to see what actually happened. I still have questions, and I think millions of other Americans do too."

In fact, now-President Biden defeated Trump by more than seven million in the popular vote, and cybersecurity experts for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have stressed that the election was undeniably secure. Even former Attorney General Bill Barr, a Trump loyalist, said he saw no evidence of the type of widespread voter fraud that Trump alleged.

Raju and Rogers note, "There was no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, which President Joe Biden won resoundingly with 306 electoral votes to Trump's 232. And Trump and his allies' many lawsuits contesting the election were roundly rejected in court, including before conservative judges and the U.S. Supreme Court. But Tshibaka's willingness to cast doubt over the legitimacy of the election illustrates how those eager to win over the former president must adopt his baseless claims."

Voting to impeach Trump was not the first time Murkowski infuriated Trumpistas, who were disappointed when — along with Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona — she voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare. Trump loyalists have never forgiven Murkowski for helping Obamacare to survive or for voting against the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.

Murkowski has not officially announced that she will seek reelection in 2022, but she filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on March 9. And Tshibaka is obviously looking forward to taking on Murkowski in the primary.

Murkowski told CNN, "We'll see how much is invested in the sense of time and energy and resources by those that think that I should have been a more loyal Trump supporter."