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Monday, December 09, 2019

Congress

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Speaker Kevin McCarthy

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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday named Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to a committee created by House Republicans to probe the origins of the COVID-19 virus. Greene has repeatedly rejected universally accepted scientific theories and spread lies about the pandemic.

Greene is one of nine Republicans on the panel, a number of whom have spread a conspiracy theory that the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China. A preponderance of scientific research suggests the virus was spread from wildlife to people in a seafood market, not created in a lab.

"The Members selected to serve on these subcommittees will work to … finally get answers to the Covid origins and the federal government's gain of function research that contributed to the pandemic," McCarthy said in a statement announcing the committee membership.

Republicans allege that the United States and the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, funded what is called "gain-of-function" research, virological research that helps scientists understand "the biology, ecology, and pathogenesis of viruses," according to Dr. Kanta Subbarao of the Laboratory of Infectious Disease at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at an institute in Wuhan, and that the virus had escaped the lab, resulting in the pandemic.

McCarthy named Greene to the newly formed select subcommittee, which ostensibly would review scientific research, even though she has called the theory of evolution — which is near universally accepted by the scientific community — "so-called science."

"I don't believe in evolution," Greene said in June during an appearance on right-wing former Trump administration official Steve Bannon's podcast. "I don't believe in that type of so-called science. I don't believe in evolution, I believe in God."

Greene is part of the chorus of right-wing voices spreading lies about the COVID-19 vaccine. Her personal Twitter account was permanently suspended in June 2022 after she tweeted a lie that the COVID-19 vaccine led to an "extremely high amount" of deaths. Her account was reinstated in November after Elon Musk purchased the company.

After her suspension, Greene continued to lie about the vaccine. On Sunday, she falsely tweeted, "We have no idea what is in Covid vaccines." The vaccine ingredients are publicly available.

Greene has also compared vaccine and mask-wearing requirements implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to Nazis forcing Jews to wear yellow Stars of David to identify themselves during the Holocaust.

According to CNN, Greene told an interviewer on the Christian Broadcasting Network in 2021, "You know, we can look back at a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star, and they were definitely treated like second class citizens so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany," Greene said of House rules that required members to be masked if they were unvaccinated against COVID-19. Greene added, "This is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about."

Greene, who has a penchant for spreading debunked conspiracy theories, has also repeated the theory that the virus originated in a lab.

"I'm honored to serve on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic," Greene tweeted Tuesday night. "It's time to reveal the truth on the origins of COVID, the authoritarian Democrat response, vaccines, and Fauci's NIAID involvement in gain-of-function research."

Other members of the select subcommittee are Reps. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) and Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), who have railed against COVID-19 prevention methods such as vaccine requirements and mask-wearing, even though research has shown those tools to be the best ways to prevent serious illness or death from the virus.

"I'm PROUD to announce that I've been chosen for the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus pandemic," Jackson tweeted. "Every LIE told to us by Fauci will be revealed. Every LIE about the vaccine will be revealed. Every LIE that was used to LOCK YOU DOWN will be unearthed. We will reveal the TRUTH!"

Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia expressed dismay with McCarthy's appointments to the committee, tweeting on Jan. 24: "McCarthy put the QAnon enthusiast who spread pandemic misinformation on the Covid subcommittee and the guy who dodged a congressional subpoena and discussed pardons with Donald Trump in charge of their 'deep state' panel. Whole subcommittees devoted to conspiracy theories. Ugh."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

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A campaign poster for Rep. Cory Mills

Freshman Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL) on Thursday celebrated his appointment to two House committees by handing his colleagues inert, Florida-made 40mm grenades emblazoned with the logo of the Republican Party.

Mills sent the explosives with a letter that welcomed lawmakers to a “mission-oriented 118th Congress” and noted that he was “honored to be a part of the [House] Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees.”

The grenades, Mills noted in his letter, were ammunition for an MK19 grenade launcher, “manufactured in the Sunshine State[,] and first developed in the Vietnam War.” A line at the bottom of the letter reminded lawmakers that the explosives were inert.

A spokesperson for Mills, Juan Ayala, told the Washington Examiner that the dummy explosives were “a gift to all House Republicans in celebration of a new majority” and that “It’s very customary for new members of Congress to bring products from their home state.”

“Per the letter, the grenades are inert, and were cleared through all security metrics,” Ayala said in a statement to the Washington Post.

“I just wish they [referring to Daily Mail reporter Morgan Phillips, who posted a photo of Mills’ gift on Twitter on Thursday] tagged out official account,” Ayala added.

Mills’ weird gift care arrived weeks after House Republicans, stoking fresh fears for the safety of lawmakers, removed metal detectors installed outside the House chambers, days before even electing the ringmaster of their circus, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Democratic lawmakers installed the magnetometers outside the House nearly a week after defeated ex-president Donald Trump incited a mob of his supporters into storming Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021, in an alarming bid to retain power after losing the 2020 election, no matter the cost.

Mills, an ex-defense adviser to the Trump Administration, was one of many political figures who falsely alleged that Trump, not then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, had won the 2020 presidential election.

According to Orlando Sentinel, Mills considered the 2020 election “tainted” and refused to acknowledge that Biden’s ascension to the presidency was legitimate, citing what he called “a multitude of fraud that has been found throughout multiple states.”

The Republican party listed Mills as a keynote speaker for a ‘Stop the Steal” rally nearly two months before Trump sicced his supporters on U.S. lawmakers during their certification of Biden’s victory.

Not only was Mills obstinately defensive of his participation in what the now-defunct bipartisan House January 6 committee labeled a “coup,” but the Winter Haven Republican stoked culture war debates in the lead-up to the 2022 midterms, earning Trump’s endorsement.

During his campaign, Mills attacked transgender people, railed against US aid to Ukraine, called for a complete border closure and birthright citizenship overhaul, and falsely claimed the Biden Administration “weaponize[d] the IRS and the FBI against the American people” and violated Trump’s Fourth Amendment rights, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Politico reported in April that a company Mills co-founded, PACEM Solutions, sold teargas that was used on Black Lives Matter demonstrators during the 2020 racial justice protests. Hong Kong police used rubber bullets sold by PACEM Solutions on protestors in 2019, the paper also noted.

Americans were not impressed with Mills’ grenade stunt and dragged the newbie lawmaker on Twitter for playing politics with ordnance they said aptly symbolized the Republican House.