Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), and Ralph Norman (R-SC) lost their appeals against $500 fines for repeatedly refusing to wear masks on the House floor in May.
Each appeal was denied by a majority of the panel, which is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.
Greene, Massie, and Norman were among nearly a dozen lawmakers – six of whom were fined – who refused to wear masks on the floor in May to protest the still-in-effect mask mandate, which has since been lifted.
Reps. Brian Mast (R-FL) and Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), as well as Rep. Marianne Miller-Meeks (R-IA), who did not file an appeal, had their fines upheld last month.
Greene’s appeal argued that “those who are vaccinated… [or have] overcome COVID-19 are conferred immunity to the virus,” despite the fact that vaccines have not been proven to be 100 percent effective, and Greene has not publicly stated whether she has been infected or vaccinated.
When asked if she has been vaccinated during a press conference on Tuesday, Greene said the question is a “violation of my HIPAA rights,” referring to a law that requires health care providers to prevent the disclosure of sensitive information about patients.
Greene said that during an Ethics Committee hearing, she pointed out that four of the five Democrats on the panel – Reps. Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Susan Wild (D-PA), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), and chair Ted Deutch (D-FL) – had cosponsored a resolution to expel her. “I asked for them to recuse themselves,” Greene added, calling it a “conflict of interest.”
In the wake of a new outbreak of the Delta variant of coronavirus, the House may reinstate the mask mandate. In an update to staff on Tuesday, Brian P. Monahan, the Capitol’s attending physician, said, “Future developments in the coronavirus Delta variant local threat may require the resumption of mask wear for all as now seen in several counties in the United States.”
Greene, who compared door-to-door vaccine outreach attempts to Nazi brown shirts, was rebuked by White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said the Biden administration isn’t taking “medical or health advice” from the controversial GOP lawmaker.
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“First I will tell you that we don’t take any of our health and medical advice from Marjorie Taylor Greene, so I can assure everyone of that,” Psaki told CNN “New Day” host John Berman. “But also, John, what we’re trying to do here as the federal government is to save lives, prevent people from getting COVID and the coronavirus.”
Given the rising threat of the Delta variety, Biden said in a Tuesday speech on the US’ vaccine efforts that “we need to go community-by-community, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, and oft-times door-to-door, physically knocking on doors” to raise vaccination rates.
Greene tweeted her response to Biden’s remarks later Tuesday.
“Biden pushing a vaccine that is NOT FDA approved shows covid is a political tool used to control people. People have a choice, they don’t need your medical brown shirts showing up at their door ordering vaccinations,” she tweeted. “You can’t force people to be part of the human experiment.”
Biden pushing a vaccine that is NOT FDA approved shows covid is a political tool used to control people.
People have a choice, they don’t need your medical brown shirts showing up at their door ordering vaccinations.
You can’t force people to be part of the human experiment. https://t.co/S8qlstuSqL
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) July 6, 2021
“Brown shirts” refers to Adolf Hitler’s Sturmabteilung, or SA, a paramilitary and militia unit formed in the early 1920s. In the early 1930s, the SA used different forms of political violence and intimidation to support Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, as well as to begin off the systematic targeting and brutality against Jews.
Greene has previously linked portions of the US vaccine program to Nazi Germany. Greene compared employees of the grocery store Food City wearing badges to the gold stars Jewish Jews had to wear during the Holocaust in a tweet on May 25.
“Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star. Vaccine passports & mask mandates create discrimination against unvaxxed people who trust their immune systems to a virus that is 99% survivable,” Greene wrote.
Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.
Vaccine passports & mask mandates create discrimination against unvaxxed people who trust their immune systems to a virus that is 99% survivable.https://t.co/6X6VNolcA7
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) May 25, 2021
She later claimed that she was talking about “discrimination against Jews in the early Nazi years,” not the Holocaust, but that routine violence and targeting of Jews led directly to the Holocaust’s slaughter.
After receiving harsh condemnation, including from GOP leadership and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who called the tweet “appalling,” Greene visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC and apologized for the comparison in a June 15 press conference at the US Capitol.
“One of the best lessons that my father always taught me was when you make a mistake, you should own it. And 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,” Greene said. “There are words that I have said, remarks that I’ve made, that I know are offensive. And for that, I want to apologize.”
A statement from the American Jewish Congress said that Greene “continues to prove that there is no limit to her brutal trivialization of the Holocaust for her own personal political power.”
“The Holocaust and Jewish suffering is not a prop for her delusional views comparing efforts to save lives through vaccines with the most heinous, systematic state-sponsored slaughter of millions of victims,” the statement continued.