Rep. Carlos Gimenez, one of the 11 Republican lawmakers who voted to strip GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments, said she was not “as contrite as she should have been” in expressing regret for her past remarks.
Gimenez, a freshman congressman who represents a district in South Florida, told the Washington Examiner in a phone call that he voted the way he did because he had to do what he thought was right, despite the majority of his colleagues voting to keep Greene assigned.
“I don’t believe in any of the things that the congresswoman said in a lot of her quotes on Facebook — her denying the Parkland shooting, the harassing of Mr. Hogg,” Gimenez said in reference to a video that surfaced showing Greene following Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg and peppering him with questions while he walked near Capitol Hill.
Gimenez also brought up a Facebook post where she speculated about “lasers” being tied to the deadly California wildfires.
Greene was stripped of her two committee seats after she faced criticism from Democrats and some Republicans for her past remarks boosting the QAnon conspiracy theory, which posits that the country is run by cannibalistic, Democratic pedophiles. She also drew further condemnation over what some characterized as violent threats against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Greene had sat on both the House Education and Labor Committee and the Budget Committee prior to Thursday’s 230-199 vote. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had attempted a deal with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to pull Greene from the Education and Labor Committee in exchange for the vote to remove her from both, but Hoyer said no.
Greene on Thursday delivered a floor speech where she disavowed her prior statements and actions online but also blasted the media as being “just as guilty as QAnon.”
Gimenez told the Washington Examiner that even though Greene disassociated herself from the conspiracy theory during her floor speech, “Really, when I was listening, I don’t believe that she was as contrite as she should have been.”
She “especially didn’t belong” on the Education and Labor Committee, given her remarks surrounding Hogg and the Parkland shooting, Gimenez added.
When asked if he was disappointed that only 10 others from his caucus joined him in stripping Greene of her committees, Gimenez said it “was a difficult vote for everybody.”
“The fact that you have … the majority party trying to tell the minority party what to do is problematic, but at the end, I had to do what I thought was right,” Gimenez said.
The Florida congressman, who was recently appointed as assistant whip for House Republicans, also pointed out that a new standard has been set with the Greene vote and hinted that past comments from Democrats could come back to bite them in the future.
“I’m going to hold the Democrats’ feet to the fire that the same standard is going to apply to Democrats as it does to Republicans,” Gimenez said.
In terms of the future of the Republican Party, Gimenez said the GOP should continue moving forward with a lot of the policies that former President Donald Trump advocated for and highlighted the economic gains made under his leadership. He pointed to issues such as holding China accountable, border security, and opposing liberal policy changes being pursued by the Biden administration as future matters that the Republican Party should prioritize.
Another intraparty controversy among the House GOP was that of Rep. Liz Cheney’s decision to vote in favor of impeaching Trump. The Wyoming lawmaker, who is the GOP conference chairwoman and No. 3 ranking Republican, survived a party vote to strip her of her leadership role on Wednesday. Gimenez supported keeping her but hopes the party can move beyond the bickering.
“I think we need to move past this — it’s been a rough month here with the Republican Party,” Gimenez said when asked about unity in the GOP, adding that the party needs to move forward with a “unified vision and a unified message.”
“We need to stop fighting with each other, and, hopefully, today is the last day that we have something of an internal fight inside the Republican Party,” the congressman said.
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