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Rep. Pete Aguilar On Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's Removal From Multiple Committees

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene faces a vote in the House today on whether she should be stripped of her committee assignments. Democrats have called Greene's conduct into question after her repeated support for baseless conspiracy theories, racist tropes and violence against Democrats. Greene defended herself today. Here she is on the House floor.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE: These things do not represent me. They do not represent my district, and they do not represent my values.

CORNISH: California Congressman Pete Aguilar is the vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus. He joins us now.

Welcome back to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

PETE AGUILAR: Thanks for having me, Audie.

CORNISH: Representative Greene called these words of the past. Did she apologize? Did you hear an apology? And if so, if not, what's your reaction to the move today?

AGUILAR: Well, my reaction would be it's pretty sad to call that an apology and to say that she's getting credit for simply acknowledging that 9/11 really happened. The bottom line is, you know, she's made very clear that she believes in these delusional and dangerous conspiracy theories, and she has no place to serve on these congressional committees, especially the Education and Labor Committee, after her views on Parkland and Sandy Hook.

CORNISH: Why would be - why would removal from committees be far enough? I mean, why not expel her from the House? Why not there be formal censure? What is the thinking in Democratic leadership about this?

AGUILAR: Well, first things first - and this is the first step in the process. But clearly, she doesn't deserve the honor of serving on these distinguished committees.

CORNISH: But are you implying there's more steps to come when you're saying first things first?

AGUILAR: Well, she controls that. And we'll see what - you know, what dangerous, you know, comments she makes in the future. But, you know, clearly - and that's a high threshold. You know, two-thirds to expel a member is a very high threshold. And clearly, Republicans aren't interested in holding this member accountable. So we're not going to hold our breath for that. But since the minority leader won't do the right thing and remove her himself from committee assignments, the full House needs to be prepared to step in and to do the right thing. It's shameful and, quite frankly, embarrassing that Republican leadership feels good about giving her a platform to expose these, you know, conspiracy theories.

CORNISH: Another reaction - Greene has been fundraising around this vote. Are you fueling her fire?

AGUILAR: Yeah, I mean, clearly, that's what this is about. This is about, you know, whipping up individuals who share this belief with her, and she's, you know, fundraising off of that rhetoric. So you know, time will only tell what - you know, what happens next. But, you know, I don't believe the words she said on the House floor are sufficient. And I think we need to take, you know, clear and convincing and make it - you know, and let individuals know that this is unfortunate, and it needs to be addressed. And there needs to be accountability.

CORNISH: Can I come back to this fundraising issue, though? - because you also have the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with ads out linking House Republicans to Greene, even linking her to members who don't officially agree with her. Are you trying to have it both ways?

AGUILAR: Well, I think what we're trying to do is we're trying to hold individuals accountable. And we'll see based on their vote today whether they want to stand with her and some of these, you know, theories that she's espoused or whether they're interested in, you know, being governing partners. But, you know, what we're focused on right now is ensuring that the business of the House carries forward and ensuring that the members on those committees are safe. And you know, when you have an individual who has called for, you know, these offenses and supported, you know, executing, you know, members of Congress and other elected officials, I mean, that's not the type of behavior that is going to make members feel comfortable with her in committee.

CORNISH: I want to do come to an argument that has come from the Republican leadership, which is the idea that at some point in the future, when the House flips, Democrats will have set a bad precedent. Just a short amount of time left - do you think that's the case?

AGUILAR: I don't think that's the case. And I don't think that Democrats would stand for another colleague of ours calling for and supporting the execution of individuals and inciting violence. That's not what we are about, and we would hold individuals accountable. Unfortunately, the Republicans won't in this case.

CORNISH: That's House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Pete Aguilar of California.

Thank you for your time.

AGUILAR: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.