House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tried — without success — Tuesday night to end an ugly battle between two of his GOP freshmen.
The California Republican implored Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), in separate private meetings, to stop attacking one another after their back-and-forth online spat dragged on for hours earlier Tuesday.
After speaking with the GOP leader, Greene said she told McCarthy that she would quit attacking Mace. But as she was leaving the meeting, Greene suggested to CNN that she was interested in seeing Mace get a Republican primary challenger, something former President Donald Trump has called for.
Mace, after meeting with McCarthy, also didn’t back down after being asked about Greene’s primary challenger comments.
“All I can say about Marjorie Taylor Greene is bless her fucking heart,” Mace told reporters.
Greene, for her part, dismissed the idea that her comments were an escalation of their feud, arguing that she reiterated a position she has previously taken.
“After my meeting with Kevin McCarthy … I agreed that I’d quit attacking her, and I haven’t attacked her,” Greene told POLITICO in an interview Tuesday night, describing it as a good meeting with the top Republican. “I don’t think I said anything different after the meeting.”
“I wasn’t announcing anything about President Trump because he already emailed that out,” she added. “I didn’t go out making announcements about Nancy Mace. If I was gonna make an announcement about Nancy Mace, she’d see me tweeting it.”
Still, Greene’s remarks didn’t dial down the temperature or stop the public infighting.
And Mace didn’t put down her boxing gloves, either. Mace later called Greene a “a No. 1 grifter,” someone who has “nothing going on in her life,” someone who “takes advantage of vulnerable Americans and vulnerable conservatives,“ among other digs, to a group of reporters on the Capitol steps.
Mace and Greene have thrown public punches at one another before, but this latest melee erupted after Mace condemned fellow freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) over her anti-Muslim remarks, including calling Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) a member of the “Jihad squad.”
When asked about Boebert’s comments, Mace told CNN on Sunday that she has previously condemned colleagues on “both sides of the aisle for racist tropes and remarks that I find disgusting — and this is no different than any others.” Greene then took to Twitter telling Mace to “back up off” Boebert and suggesting that she can go hang with the “Jihad squad.” After that, the two women issued various tweets going after one another.
This latest internal brouhaha comes after McCarthy has already faced a series of controversies with his GOP members, each time distracting from GOP efforts turn up the heat on Democrats and the Biden administration as they seek to reclaim the majority next year.
It also further illustrates McCarthy’s balancing act as he seeks to also win the speaker’s gavel: trying to keep the pro-Trump wing of the party and the faction of Republicans who want to head in a new direction — two incompatible wings of the party — unified.
Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.