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‘Shut Up, Colonel Sanders’: GOP infighting continues on Capitol Hill

By CM Chaney · November 3, 2023

In brief…

  • Infighting continues among House Republicans despite claims of unity from leadership
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene proposed censuring Rashida Tlaib, was rebuffed by some in GOP
  • Greene and Rep. Chip Roy engaged in bitter back-and-forth on social media
  • George Santos survived an expulsion attempt brought by fellow Republicans
  • Speaker Mike Johnson claimed Republicans are unified, but observers disagree
One-sentence summary: House Republicans remain bitterly divided by infighting and petty spats that belie their claims of unity and threaten their ability to govern.  Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia

The Republican party is embroiled in bitter infighting that belies their claims of unity, according to observers on Capitol Hill.

The chaos began in October when Kevin McCarthy was ousted as Speaker, culminating in the election of the relatively unknown Mike Johnson. Yet tensions have continued unabated.

Most recently, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene proposed censuring Rep. Rashida Tlaib for her participation in a Gaza ceasefire protest at the Capitol last month.

Greene called the peaceful demonstration an “insurrection,” prompting 23 Republicans to join Democrats in rejecting her resolution. In response, Greene tweeted a list of her “feckless” colleagues who didn’t support her, including Rep. Chip Roy. Roy dismissed the censure attempt as “feckless” itself, saying it made “legally and factually unverified claims.”

The back-and-forth grew increasingly petty, with Greene calling Roy a “hater” of Trump and attacking other members of the Freedom Caucus. She also labeled Tlaib a “terrorist.”

Roy reportedly told Greene, “Tell her to go chase so-called Jewish space lasers,” referencing Greene’s past embrace of an antisemitic conspiracy theory about California wildfires.

“Oh shut up Colonel Sanders,” Greene tweeted back.

Meanwhile, criminally indicted Rep. George Santos survived an expulsion attempt by members of his own party, with Rep. Anthony D’Esposito saying Santos “is a stain on this institution.”

Santos posted and then deleted a meme of himself wearing a crown, with the caption, “If you come for me, you best not miss.”

Despite the constant infighting and toxicity, Speaker Johnson claimed at a press conference on Thursday that House Republicans are “unified” and “energized.” But observers say the GOP caucus is paralyzed by dysfunction and petty feuds that undermine any attempt at serious governance.