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Marjorie Taylor Greene Would Be First Republican To Be Expelled From Congress

Newsweek logo Newsweek 5/27/2021 Darragh Roche
a van parked on the side of a road: A view of the MoveOn Mobile Billboard and Protest at Rep. Kevin McCarthy's Bakersfield office demanding removal of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from House Committee on Education and Labor on February 04, 2021 in Bakersfield, California. An online petition calling for Greene to be expelled from Congress has surpassed 100,000 signatures. © Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for MoveOn A view of the MoveOn Mobile Billboard and Protest at Rep. Kevin McCarthy's Bakersfield office demanding removal of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from House Committee on Education and Labor on February 04, 2021 in Bakersfield, California. An online petition calling for Greene to be expelled from Congress has surpassed 100,000 signatures.

Calls for Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene to be expelled from the House of Representatives have grown in recent days following her comments comparing COVID-19 safety measures to the Holocaust.

Greene, a Republican who represents Georgia's 14th congressional district, invoked the horrors of Nazi Germany and the systematic murder of six million European Jews while criticizing COVID rules, such as mask-wearing, which Speaker Nancy Pelosi has enforced on the floor of the House.

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy joined several of his party colleagues in criticizing Greene's remarks and an online petition seeking her expulsion has garnered more than 100,000 signatures.

The House and Senate have the authority to expel a member but the power has rarely been used. Two-thirds of members present for an expulsion vote must approve the measure of it to be successful.

Just 20 members have been expelled since the first Congress met in 1789—15 senators and five representatives.

No Republican has ever been expelled from either chamber. All five of those removed from the House were members of the Democratic Party.

In 1861, three Democrats were expelled for supporting the Confederate rebellion against the U.S. government. This was the first time any member of the House had suffered the ultimate sanction available to the chamber.


Video: Marjorie Taylor Greene brings the behavior of Trump rallies to Congress (MSNBC)

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They were John B. Clark of Missouri, John W. Reed of Missouri and Henry C. Burnett of Kentucky. The House voted 94 to 45 to expel Clark on July 13, 1861. Reed and Burnett were both expelled on December 2 of that year, but interestingly no vote was recorded, according to the House's History, Art & Archives website.

It would take more than 100 years before another member of the House was expelled. On October 2, 1980, Democratic Representative Michael J. Myers of Pennsylvania was removed by a vote of 376 to 30 following his conviction for bribery in the so-called Abscam scandal.

The last member of the House to be expelled was Representative James A. Traficant of Ohio. A Democrat, he was convicted on 10 felony counts including racketeering, bribery and obstruction of justice. He was expelled by a vote of 420 to 1 on July 24, 2002.

In the Senate, all but one of the expelled members were Democrats. The exception was the first senator removed, William Blount of Tennessee, who belonged to the now-defunct Democratic-Republican Party. He was expelled for treason in 1797 for his attempt to incite a rebellion by the Creek and Cherokee and to help the British conquer Spanish Florida and Louisiana.

The remaining 14 senators were all Democrats expelled because of their support for the Confederacy. However, one of them, William K. Sebastian, had his expulsion posthumously reversed in 1877.

Despite recent GOP criticism of Greene and calls for her expulsion, it remains unlikely that enough Republicans would vote to remove her to reach the required two-thirds majority. Almost all those who were expelled from Congress were accused of disloyalty to the U.S., while the remainder were convicted of crimes.

Newsweek has asked Greene for comment.

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