The House Freedom Caucus — the far-right group of conspiracy theorists with members like Reps. Jim Jordan, Paul Gosar, and Madison Cawthorn — have long been warring with the rest of the Republican Party, which they feel isn’t sufficiently dedicated to former President Trump and his vision for a MAGA-fied America.
The caucus has apparently been warring with itself, too, according to a new report from Politico.
Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert reportedly almost came to blows over Greene’s appearance at a white nationalist event in February, to the point that someone had to step in between them to de-escalate the confrontation. Three people close to the Freedom Caucus confirmed the spat to Politico, which took place during a meeting of the caucus’ board of directors.
Greene and Boebert, two of the most virulent conspiracy theorists in Congress, seem like they’d be the best of friends. They trade in the same kinds of bigotry; whine over the same culture war issues animating Trump’s base, and even heckled President Biden together during the State of the Union address last month.
This doesn’t seem to be the case. Politico notes that Boebert “detests” being tied to Greene, and that she was none too pleased with Greene’s decision to give a speech at a white nationalist conference organized by Nick Fuentes during which speakers pushed the “great replacement” theory, called for Dr. Anthony Fauci to be hanged, called for the audience to cheer Vladimir Putin, and gave winking nods to Hitler. Greene’s presence was controversial enough that she attempted to distance herself from Fuentes, claiming she doesn’t know him and thus she “is not aligned with anything that may be controversial.”
One would think, however, that a lawmaker, or at least a lawmaker’s staff, would be aware that they are appearing on the bill of a white nationalist event.
The rift inside the Freedom Caucus extends beyond Greene and Boebert, according to Politico, as the group, which was formed before Trump took office, has transformed into hotbed of conspiracy theory that is no longer too concerned with actual policy. “We were not designed to be just obstructionists,” Mick Mulvaney, one of the groups founding members who went on to serve in Trump’s White House and is now a contributor to CBS News, told the outlet. “We were not designed to be an extreme outrage machine.”
Some of the group’s members still believe this, apparently, and members have differed on everything from the party’s floor strategy in 2021 to how to respond to leaked tapes that reveal House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy criticized Trump after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. One thing that isn’t up for debate is that regardless of how it was designed, the Freedom Caucus, if not the entire Republican Party, is now operating primarily as an outrage machine — and both Greene and Boebert are to blame as much as anyone.