Ideally, our elected representatives would learn about devastating events in world history sometime before they take office. And ideally, it shouldn’t have taken Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene 47 years and a museum visit to come to the conclusion that the state-sponsored murder of millions of Jewish people was, in fact, not at all like a mask mandate in a pandemic. But it was only on Monday that the conspiracy-theory-spouting Georgia congresswoman said she realized her comments likening the Holocaust to COVID-19 safety measures were “offensive” and “a mistake.”
After visiting the Holocaust museum, Greene spoke at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol. “I have made a mistake and it’s really bothered me for a couple of weeks now, and so I definitely want to own it,” she said. “Antisemitism is true hate, and I saw that today at the Holocaust museum.” She added that this is “something we should all remember and never forget,” and acknowledged that “the horrors of the Holocaust are something that some people don’t even believe happen, and some people deny, but there is no comparison.”
Greene has compared COVID regulations to the persecution and murders of the Holocaust multiple times, and initially doubled down on her comments. In a May 22 interview on a right-wing podcast, she criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to keep the House floor’s mask mandate. “We can look back in 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, “and this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.”
Many people, even right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro, criticized this statement. Greene clarified that she wasn’t comparing Pelosi’s insistence on safety precautions to the Holocaust, “only the discrimination against Jews in early Nazi years.” But that was also extremely unlike the request that someone wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Days later, she tweeted a link to a news story about supermarket employees wearing special badges to indicate that they’d been vaccinated. “Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the [Nazis] forced Jewish people to wear a gold star,” she wrote on Twitter. She also claimed that asking students to show proof of vaccination before returning to in-person class is akin to “Nazi practices.”
Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all slammed Greene’s remarks. “Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling,” McCarthy wrote in a statement. “Let me be clear: The House Republican Conference condemns this language.” On Sunday, just one day before Greene’s apology, Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider announced he would be introducing a resolution to censure her.
Greene may be backtracking in response to the bipartisan wave of criticism, but that doesn’t mean she’s changed her ways — her pattern of antisemitism, harassment, and propagation of irresponsible conspiracy theories reflects exactly who she is. Someone who also, on a similar note, still has not apologized for likening the Democrats to Nazis. (Her reasoning there? The official name of the Nazi party had the word “socialist” in it.) No amount of museum visits can rehabilitate Greene into a competent politician or, frankly, a moral person.