Sen. Tommy Tuberville said that "the weather" kept him from keeping up with Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's past statements

By Virginia Chamlee
February 04, 2021 09:40 AM
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Tommy Tuberville
| Credit: Getty Images

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a freshman politician from Alabama and former college football coach, is like other members of Congress asked hourly if not daily for his views on the issues of the day.

So it was notable to many how he chose to answer when asked this week about the controversy surrounding Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose past social media posts claim that the country's deadliest school shooting was a hoax and muse about the possibility that a space laser started a California wildfire.

Asked to comment about Greene, an intensely divisive figure in Congress even as she says she is being unfairly criticized while trying to "save our country," Tuberville said that the weather prevented him from familiarizing himself with current events.

"I haven't looked at what all she's done," the Republican, 66, told CNN on Tuesday. "I'd have to hold back a statement on that ... [I've] been traveling. This weather's been a little rough. [Didn't] look at any news or whatever."

Tuberville's recognition in Alabama hinges largely on his former career coaching college football, during which he lead Auburn University to an undefeated 2004 season.

He handily won the state primary over former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had fallen out of favor with President Donald Trump.

And — with Trump's endorsement and the support of Alabama's many Republican voters — Tuberville went on to beat Democratic incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, whose upset victory in 2017 came against a notoriously scandal-plagued GOP candidate.

Tuberville, elected to the Senate in November, has largely avoided giving interviews or participating in debates since entering politics, declining to debate either Sessions in the primary of Jones in the general election.

(He has, however, made multiple gaffes, such as flubbing the names of the three branches of U.S. government and incorrectly asserting that Al Gore was once president-elect for 30 days.)

Requests for further clarification to Tuberville's office were not returned.

Greene has been embroiled in controversy since before she won her election in the fall. Recently unearthed videos of show that before she was a lawmaker, she repeatedly badgered a Parkland school shooting survivor.

In the past, she has spoken approvingly of the QAnon conspiracy theory — though her representatives say she doesn't support it and "believes it's disinformation" — and her social media endorsed calls for violence against elected officials.

For example, CNN previously reported that Greene had "liked" a comment on Facebook that called for "a bullet to the head" of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Greene has since denied personal responsibility for her own Facebook page's activity, tweeting that "over the years," she's had "teams of people" manage her social media accounts.

"Many posts have been liked. Many posts have been shared. Some did not represent my views. Especially the ones that CNN is about to spread across the internet," she tweeted.

Elsewhere, she has argued that the coverage is reductive and ignores her more pleasant and conciliatory posts.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene
| Credit: Erin Scott-Pool/Getty

While Tuberville withheld comment on Greene's behavior, some leading Republicans have been critical as calls increase for the House of Representatives to respond.

Greene's "loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement published by The Hill. "Somebody who's suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.'s airplane is not living in reality. This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party."

House Democrats said that they will vote Thursday on stripping Greene of her committee assignments.

"I spoke to Leader McCarthy this morning, and it is clear there is no alternative to holding a Floor vote on the resolution to remove Rep. Greene from her committee assignments," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer wrote in a tweet Wednesday. "The Rules Committee will meet this afternoon, and the House will vote on the resolution tomorrow."

Greene, a member of the House's Republican minority, was recently given one of the party's seats on the Committee on Education and Labor.

Democrats have criticized that committee assignment in light of previous Facebook posts in which Greene agreed with those who falsely claimed that the 2018 Parkland shooting was a "false flag" operation.

"Assigning her to the Education Committee when she has mocked the killing of little children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, when she has mocked the killing of teenagers in high school at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school — what could they be thinking?" Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked at a press conference last Thursday. "Or is thinking too generous a word for what they might be doing? It's absolutely appalling, and I think the focus has to be on the Republican leadership of this House of Representatives for the disregard they have for the death of those children."