The Republican Party’s far-right brain trust in the House was busy this weekend. On Friday, Punchbowl News published a policy document from Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene outlining a new project now that she’s been stripped of her committee assignments. Behold the America First caucus, which calls for a “common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions” and a return to a federal infrastructure style that “befits the progeny of European Architecture.” Soon after, representatives including Matt Gaetz and Louie Gohmert announced some level of interest in the new House faction.
While some views of the newfound group are consistent with the general trajectory of the GOP in 2021 — they are enthusiastic Trump supporters working to restrict voting access in the wake of an election they falsely allege was stolen — House leadership wasn’t thrilled by the effort on their right flank. Of particular concern was language celebrating Western civilization and “cultural assimilation,” including a warning that “mass immigration” threatens the “the long-term existential future of America as a unique country with a unique culture and a unique identity.” Such nativist language is more commonly deployed in white-nationalist circles and last week on Tucker Carlson Tonight.
On Saturday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy obliquely referenced the America First caucus, tweeting that “the Republican Party is the party of Lincoln & the party of more opportunity for all Americans — not nativist dog whistles.” House GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney also sent a message tacitly condemning Greene’s mission: “Racism, nativism, and anti-Semitism are evil. History teaches we all have an obligation to confront & reject such malicious hate.”
Though neither leader explicitly condemned Greene in public, a representative for the conspiracist congresswoman denied the existence of the America First caucus on Saturday. While spokesman Nick Dyer told CNN on Friday that Greene’s official platform would be made public “very soon,” he said the next day that his boss “has no plans to launch anything.”
Greene herself said she had nothing to do with the draft published Friday, describing it as a “staff level draft proposal from an outside group that I hadn’t read.” She added that “the scum and liars in the media are calling me a racist by taking something out of context.”
In the end, it was another proposal from an attention-seeking House Republican who has yet to achieve a policy win on the Hill. (She has had some notable “No” votes, however, including being the only representative, along with Lauren Boebert, to vote on Friday against reauthorizing a bill that helps match bone-marrow donors with leukemia patients.) Conveniently for Greene, it is outlandish behavior, not legislative success, that her supporters value: On April 10, she announced that she had raised $3.2 million in the first quarter, which is a record in fundraising for a House freshman during an off-year election quarter.