Greene, a MAGA celebrity who has long promoted conspiracy theories and has a history of making controversial remarks, has become one of the most prolific fundraisers in the House Republican caucus and is a sought-after endorsement in GOP primaries. But her appearance as a surprise speaker at Friday’s America First Political Action Conference marked an explicit embrace of the alt-right.
The event, held to counter the CPAC conference, was organized by Nick Fuentes, a prominent white nationalist who marched at the infamous Charlottesville rally in 2017 where a neo-Nazi murdered a counterprotester. Greene is now the second member of Congress to appear at the event. Arizona Republican Paul Gosar spoke at it in both 2021 and this year.
The Georgia congresswoman’s appearance was introduced shortly after Fuentes asked for “a round of applause for Russia” and the crowd chanted “Putin, Putin” in response. In her remarks, Greene hailed the attendees as “canceled Americans” and delivered a familiar set of bromides, condemning abortion, environmentalism, Nancy Pelosi, and Justin Trudeau, while promising the crowd she was currently “working very hard for an American revival.”
Other speakers at the event made an array of racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic remarks, culminating in Fuentes reiterating his praise for the January 6 attack on the Capitol as “awesome” and celebrating Adolf Hitler. The white nationalist said of the media: “And now they’re going on about Russia and ‘Vladimir Putin is Hitler’ — they say that’s not a good thing,” he said with a smirk.
After initially dodging questions from reporters on Saturday at CPAC, Greene gave a brief statement claiming ignorance about the event. “I do not know Nick Fuentes. I never heard him speak. I’ve never seen a video. I don’t know what his views are so I’m not aligned with anything controversial,” she said.
“What I can tell you is went to his event last night to address his very large following,” she added, then did not respond to any follow-up questions.
Both Greene and Gosar were removed from their House committee assignments last year, Gosar for a video where he mock-killed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whereas for Greene, it was for a range of comments made before she was elected including endorsing the execution of Nancy Pelosi. The punishments were meted out by House Democrats in both instances, however, not by Greene and Gosar’s own conference. This sparked condemnation from House Republicans who viewed it as an effort to usurp their prerogative to police their own party. In particular, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy thought it was wrong that Greene was punished for comments made before she was elected.
“Now that you’re a member of Congress, now it’s the responsibility of our conference to hold people accountable,” McCarthy said at the time, explaining that the GOP removed Steve King from his committee assignments “when he made comments as a member of Congress.” King, a former Iowa congressman, was stripped of his committees after series of racist and other hateful remarks, culminating in him asking a reporter, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
King was also an attendee at the white-nationalist event on Friday night.
A spokesperson for McCarthy did not respond to a request for comment.
This post has been updated.