Opinion: Georgia doesn’t need Greene’s divisive antics


Anyone who’s ever recited the Pledge of Allegiance – let alone sworn an oath to defend America against enemies foreign or domestic – should be appalled at what transpired last week at the gathering of the America First Political Action Conference.

The group’s founder – white supremacist Nick Fuentes – asked for a round of applause for the bloodthirsty Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. And he proclaimed that America’s “secret sauce here is these young white men.”

Disgusted so far?

You should be.

But it gets worse.

Georgia Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene headlined the event, where attendees cheered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and chanted, “Putin, Putin,” shortly before Greene was introduced.

The cheers for Putin weren’t the lowest point of Fuentes’ discourse.

“Now they’re going on about Russia and Vladimir Putin is Hitler, they say that’s not a good thing,” Fuentes said.

Greene, the surprise guest at the gathering, said at the podium, “I reject identity politics,” while referring to progressives.

Her remarks at the event largely echoed her statements at other public gatherings, where she’s lashed out against “cancel culture” and tried to frame Democrats and mainstream Republicans as enemies of the state.

As reported last weekend by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Greene told CBS News said she did not know Fuentes, had never heard him speak and doesn’t know his views. Later, she issued a statement saying she wouldn’t disavow the white nationalist group over a ‘few off color remarks’ by its organizer.”

Off-color is one thing.

Being willingly present where outrageous, inappropriate, anti-Semitic or racist comments are uttered is unacceptably another.

As an elected representative of her Georgia district, what was Greene doing at the divisive event in the first place?

We all can and should revere and respect our right to freedom of speech.

And not long ago, the majority of us – conservative, liberal and all points between – would have agreed that these are times for decency and common sense, particularly from an elected official.

As for Greene, her appearance at the event raises even more questions about whether she is really fit to serve Georgia. She has a long history of hateful statements, and this is yet another example of her dangerous and irresponsible behavior and speech.

Remember, she supported the dangerous pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory. She promoted lies about school mass shootings. She endorsed social media posts that called for the execution of lawmakers.

Recently, Twitter banned one of her personal accounts after she repeatedly spread lies about the coronavirus.

One day after the event, the Republican Jewish Coalition condemned “in the strongest possible terms” Greene’s appearance.

And as reported Tuesday on AJC.com’s The Jolt, “In Washington, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters he plans to meet with Greene about her latest controversy. “This is unacceptable,” he said.

And Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement, “There’s no place in the Republican Party for white supremacists or anti-Semitism.”

They’re both right, as is Gov. Brian Kemp, whose spokesman said Tuesday, “Gov. Kemp believes there is absolutely no place in our state or the Republican Party for white supremacy, anti-Semitism, or hate of any kind. Ultimately, Congresswoman Greene is accountable to the voters of the 14th Congressional district at the ballot box every two years.”

U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker was also distancing himself from Greene this week, canceling plans to speak Saturday at her “Second Amendment and Freedom Rally” in Rome.

Last February, House Democrats, along with 11 Republicans, took the unprecedented step in February 2021 of stripping Greene of her committee assignments.

Now, it is time for party leaders to sanction Greene for appearing at the conference.

Greene should have known better. And she should apologize to Georgians for taking the stage at an event that espoused views that modern-day Americans of goodwill should find harmful to the shared values of our diverse nation.

In today’s trying times when the most outrageous of falsehoods quickly find traction, we would all do well to embrace ideas that represent the best of America’s potential – and not those that seem to glorify the worst moments of our history.

Our nation’s success in a turbulent world of today and tomorrow demands nothing less.

The Editorial Board.