WASHINGTON - U.S. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy denounced fellow Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene on Tuesday for likening COVID-19 masks to the badges the Nazis forced Jews to wear in the Holocaust, but did not suggest any disciplinary action against the firebrand ally to former President Donald Trump.
"Marjorie is wrong, and her intentional decision to compare the horrors of the Holocaust with wearing masks is appalling. The Holocaust is the greatest atrocity committed in history. The fact that this needs to be stated today is deeply troubling," House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement.
"Let me be clear: the House Republican Conference condemns this language," McCarthy said.
His statement followed a Tuesday morning rant on Twitter by Taylor Greene, of Georgia, who had already drawn a backlash from Jewish groups for comparing the Democratic-controlled chamber's mandate that members wear a mask on the House floor to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the yellow badges that Nazi Germany required Jews to wear.
The United States has been experiencing a spate of physical or verbal attacks against Jews in New York, Los Angeles and South Florida, amid an escalation earlier this month of the conflict between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers.
It is the latest eruption between Republicans in the House, where McCarthy and other party leaders have sought to forge unity after ousting fellow Representative Liz Cheney from her No. 3 leadership role for denouncing Trump's false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.
Lauren Fine, a spokeswoman for No. 2 House Republican Steve Scalise, said in a statement that the congressman “does not agree with these comments and condemns these comparisons to the Holocaust."
The top Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer, also blasted Taylor Greene's words, saying "these are sickening, reprehensible comments, and she should stop this vile language immediately."
Earlier this year McCarthy and the House Republican caucus refused to take action against Taylor Greene for her prior incendiary remarks. When the party declined to act, the House did, with just 11 Republicans joining Democrats in the February vote stripping her of her committee assignments.