Conservative South Dakota Senator John Thune has finally come out against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and her conspiracy theories. Republicans remained largely quiet for about a week as Democrats piled on Greene’s statements and attacks of school shooting survivor David Hogg.
Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) couldn’t even say Greene’s name, noting that he doesn’t support the “loony” conspiracies. But Thune questioned the path the Republican Party seems to be continuing down.
Republicans, he explained to CNN’s Manu Raju, are at a crossroad. GOP members “are going to have to decide who they want to be,” said Thune.
“Do they want to be the party of limited government and fiscal responsibility, free markets, peace through strength and pro-life or do they want to be the party of conspiracy theories and QAnon,” he explained. “I think that is the decision they’ve got to face. It’s a big distraction for them right now and not in a good way.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) has long taken issue with the extremists in his party, including the former president.
“I think our party has to make it very clear that she does not represent us in any way,” said Romney. “Our big tent is not large enough to both accommodate conservatives and kooks.”
Greene isn’t the first Republican to spout so-called “kooky” conspiracies. For eight years, well-known Republicans spread the lie that former President Barack Obama wasn’t a U.S. citizen and thus not the legal president of the United States. The GOP ultimately elected the former President Donald Trump after he spent years searching for the so-called “long-form birth certificate.”
During the GOP primary race, Trump created a conspiracy that Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) father was involved in the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy. The QAnon conspiracy theorists now believe Bill and Hillary Clinton are responsible for the death of John F. Kennedy Jr.
Then there was the time Trump told the world that he saw Muslims in New Jersey celebrating on a rooftop after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It was also a lie, but Republicans did nothing about it.
In 2016, Trump spread lies about Clinton being within an inch of death. Someone created false medical records to “prove” it. He and the GOP then began a conspiracy theory about her using a personal email server to conduct illegal activity. Ironically, Ivanka Trump then came into the White House and used her own personal email server for at least the first year. Republicans didn’t conduct an investigation.
So, when Thune, Romney and other Republicans say that the GOP doesn’t have room for conspiracy theorists, it’s facing years of evidence to the contrary.