In his inaugural address, Biden called for an end to political division, urging Americans to “end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal.” But the early days of his administration have already featured several heated clashes between the two parties.
Much of the early political discord has centered on first-term Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who has faced mounting scrutiny over her support of the QAnon conspiracy theory and former President Donald Trump’s unproven assertion that the election was stolen, among other controversial stances. Top Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have called for Greene to be stripped of her committee assignments – or removed from office entirely.
Pelosi ripped House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., after he criticized Greene’s behavior but opted not to take action regarding her committee assignments. In a scathing press release, Pelosi listed McCarty’s political affiliation as “Q,” in a reference to QAnon.
House Democrats will vote on whether to take action against Greene as soon as Thursday.
“McCarthy’s failure to lead his party effectively hands the keys over to Greene – an anti-Semite, QAnon adherent and 9/11 Truther,” Pelosi said in a statement. “McCarthy’s cowardly refusal to deal with Greene breaks with calls from Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, the Republican Jewish Coalition and several prominent members of the party to take action against Greene.”
The spat over Greene’s future in Congress followed weeks of disputes related to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, when pro-Trump protestors stormed the complex as lawmakers met to certify Biden as president. Lawmakers were forced to flee the building during the unprecedented security breach.
Top Democrats accused Republicans who objected to the election results, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, of lending legitimacy to theories of election fraud that preceded the riot.
Lingering resentment related to the riot resurfaced last week as lawmakers reacted to unprecedented volatility on Wall Street. Politicians on both sides of the political aisle criticized Robinhood and other trading platforms that restricted trades involving shares of GameStop and other shares favored by retail investors.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, a member of “The Squad” of progressive lawmakers, called for an investigation into the circumstances behind Robinhood’s decision. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tweeted his agreement with Ocasio-Cortez’s stance, prompting a sharp rebuke from the New York lawmaker.
“I am happy to work with Republicans on this issue where there’s common ground, but you almost had me murdered 3 weeks ago so you can sit this one out,” Ocasio-Cortez said in response to Cruz’s tweet. “Happy to work w/ almost any other GOP that aren’t trying to get me killed. In the meantime if you want to help, you can resign.”
Trump’s upcoming Senate impeachment trial could further the political divisions Biden sought to address. A significant number of Republicans have argued the proceedings are unconstitutional because Trump has already left office, while Democrats have signaled a desire to bar the former president from running again in 2024.