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Rep. Greene apologizes for comparing face masks to Holocaust, but stands by comparison of Democrats to Nazi party

  • Author: Felicia Sonmez, The Washington Post
  • Updated: June 14
  • Published June 14

FILE - In this Wednesday, May 12, 2021, file photo, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Greene apologized Monday, June 14, 2021, for affronting people with recent comments comparing the required wearing of safety masks in the House to the horrors of the Holocaust. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

WASHINGTON - Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Monday visited the Holocaust Museum and apologized for previously comparing coronavirus face-mask policies to the Nazi practice of labeling Jews with Star of David badges.

But the Georgia Republican declined to walk back other controversial statements she has made, including one in which she compared the Democratic Party to Hitler’s party, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

Greene’s latest remarks come days before a fellow House member, Rep. Bradley Schneider, D-Ill., is set to introduce a resolution to censure her over the Holocaust comparison.

At a Monday afternoon press conference outside the Capitol, Greene acknowledged she had made a mistake and told reporters, “One of the best lessons that my father always taught me was, when you make a mistake, you should own it.”

“This afternoon, I visited the Holocaust Museum,” Greene said. “The Holocaust is - there’s nothing comparable to it. It’s - it happened, and, you know, over six million Jewish people were murdered. More than that, there were not just Jewish people - Black people, Christians, all kinds of groups. Children. People that the Nazis didn’t believe were good enough or perfect enough.”

She added: “But there is no comparison to the Holocaust. And there are words that I have said, remarks that I have made, that I know are offensive, and for that, I want to apologize.”

In an interview and in tweets last month, Greene repeatedly used Holocaust comparisons to criticize face-mask mandates that have been enacted amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“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, and this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about,” Greene said in an interview with the online right-wing news outlet Real America’s Voice.

Days later, she compared a supermarket’s face-mask policy to the Nazi practice of labeling Jews with Star of David badges.

“Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star,” Greene tweeted late last month, linking to a news story on a Tennessee supermarket chain’s decision to include a special logo on the name badges of vaccinated employees. (The Nazi badges were yellow.)

Greene’s remarks last month prompted a swift denunciation by the top congressional leaders in both parties and the American Jewish Congress, among others.

At an “America First” rally around the same time, Greene also compared the Democratic Party to the Nazi party, which went by the full name Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

Despite the name, the Nazi party was not a socialist party; it was a right-wing, ultranationalist party. Even so, Greene told attendees at the rally in May: “You know, Nazis were the National Socialist Party. Just like the Democrats are now a national socialist party.”

Asked Monday about that statement, Greene declined to disavow it and instead renewed her criticism of Democrats.

“You know, socialism is extremely dangerous, and so is communism,” she told reporters. “And anytime a government moves into policies where there’s more control and there’s freedoms taken away, yes, that’s a danger for everyone. And I think that’s something that we should all be wary of. ... I’ll never stop saying we have to save America and stop socialism.”

Earlier this year, the House voted to remove Greene from her committee assignments over her promotion of violence against prominent Democratic politicians. But her own party’s leadership has taken no action against her beyond condemning her Holocaust comparison.

Schneider, the Democrat who is spearheading the resolution to censure Greene, sharply criticized her remarks last month. He did so again Monday morning.

“When @RepMTG repeatedly compared the US Covid-response to Hitler and the Holocaust, she dishonored the millions of lives lost in WWII and the Shoah,” Schneider tweeted, hours before the Georgia Republican apologized at her press conference. “She has forgotten America’s fight against the Nazi menace. On Wednesday, we’re introducing our resolution to censure her.”

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The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.

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