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McCarthy defends Greene’s appointment to COVID-19 panel despite past Nazi analogy

‘People can have all the questions they want,’ House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on ‘Face the Nation’

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Sunday defended the appointment of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia for a seat on the subcommittee to investigate the origins of COVID-19 despite her past comparison of mask mandates to the Holocaust and promotion of conspiracy theories. 

“I think what the American public wants to see is an open dialogue in the process,” McCarthy said in an interview on CBS News’ Face the Nation program. 

Greene, a close McCarthy ally, sparked outrage in 2021 when she called on “rational” Jewish people to back her claim that mask mandates are comparable to the Holocaust. “Any rational Jewish person didn’t like what happened in Nazi Germany, and any rational Jewish person doesn’t like what’s happening with overbearing mask mandates and overbearing vaccine policies,” she said. McCarthy condemned Greene at the time, and the Georgia Republican apologized and visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Greene was stripped of her House committee assignments earlier in 2021 for incendiary comments, including some that were deemed antisemitic. Last week she was among nine Republicans who were assigned to the select subcommittee to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s response to it. Greene was also appointed to the Homeland Security and Oversight and Reform committees. 

In the Sunday morning interview, McCarthy said “people can have all the questions they want” about the pandemic “and you’ll see the outcome.” 

McCarthy also deflected a question about his appointment of Rep. George Santos from New York, who lied about having Jewish grandparents who fled anti-Jewish persecution during the Holocaust, to two lower level committees by discussing proxy voting and other rule changes. “I equated every single member that just got elected by their constituents, they have a right to serve,” McCarthy said. 

A new report on Thursday claimed Santos posted offensive remarks about the Holocaust and made jokes about Jewish stereotypes before he ran for Congress. In an interview with an NBC reporter on Saturday, Santos repeated the debunked claim that he has “Jewish ancestry.” 

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