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Mississippi Passes Cruel Bill Banning Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Minors

The bill would block health insurance from covering gender-affirming care and put physicians at risk of having their licenses revoked.

A close-up of someone's T-shirt, which has a trans flag with the text "Protect Trans Kids."
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The Mississippi Senate passed a bill Tuesday banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors, the latest in a torrent of anti-trans legislation across the United States.

The bill is now headed to the desk of Governor Tate Reeves, who is expected to sign the bill, having expressed opposition to trans rights multiple times. If the bill becomes law, it will ban transition-related care for people under 18 and defund any public institutions that provide it.

The bill will block health insurance from covering gender-affirming care for minors, and Medicaid from reimbursing or covering the procedures. Physicians could have their licenses revoked for providing such care, and anyone claiming to have experienced harm by those doctors would be allowed to sue them for up to 30 years after the event.

The bill will also ban gender confirmation surgeries. But as the Mississippi Free Press noted, House lawmakers admitted while voting on the bill in January that they were not aware of any trans state residents receiving such surgeries.

LGBTQ rights groups slammed the bill. “No children are undergoing surgeries in this state. There are not even options for bottom (genital) surgeries for adults in this state. And anyone under 18 who is placed on gender-affirming medication undergoes a thorough and lengthy multidisciplinary evaluation prior to ever reaching the point of taking medication, during which time parents are always involved,” said Stacie Pace, a doctor at Spectrum: The Other Clinic.

“This problem [lawmakers] perceive with trans youth getting procedures done simply doesn’t exist.”

Rob Hill, the state director of Human Rights Campaign Mississippi, also criticized the Republican lawmakers who passed the bill. “Politicians who don’t have an ounce of medical training are interfering with our rights as parents and acting as if they know how to raise and support our children better than we do,” he said.

“Attacking LGBTQ+ Mississippians will not solve any problems or make life easier for working folks in this state. The only thing it will accomplish is to further demonize and alienate transgender kids.”

Mississippi’s bill is the third measure banning gender-affirming care for minors this year alone, after Utah and South Dakota. All three bills are part of an absolute deluge of anti-trans legislation across the country, from bills banning coverage of care to forbidding trans girls from playing in girls’ sports.

Lawmakers usually argue they are implementing such legislation to protect children, but a study published in January found that trans and nonbinary teenagers who receive gender-affirming care have significantly less depression and anxiety and more satisfaction with their lives than before treatment.

The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that almost 70 percent of participants who experienced severe depression saw it drop to moderate or even minimal levels after two years of hormone therapy. Participants who had mild depression experienced subclinical levels after treatment. And almost 40 percent of participants who had clinical anxiety saw it fall to the nonclinical range after treatment.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Says She Wants to Manipulate People’s Votes

Greene’s latest proposal is to block Democrats’ right to vote if they move from a blue state to a red one.

Marjorie Taylor Greene stands outside the Capitol.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

After seditiously calling for a “national divorce,” Marjorie Taylor Greene is now suggesting red states go ahead and block Democrats’ right to vote if they moved there from a blue state, because their values are just too different.

Greene illustrated her tyrannical vision on Charlie Kirk’s show on Tuesday.

“Red states can choose in how they allow people to vote in their states,” Greene started, after Kirk asked, in casually fascist fashion, how to “stop” the left from “trying to invade our states or our counties.”

“What I think would be something that some red states could propose is: well, okay, if Democrat voters choose to flee these blue states where they cannot tolerate the living conditions, they don’t want their children taught these horrible things, and they really change their mind on the types of policies that they support, well once they move to a red state, guess what, maybe you don’t get to vote for five years,” Greene said. “You can live there, and you can work there, but you don’t get to bring your values that you basically created in the blue states you came from by voting for Democrat leaders and Democrat policies.”

Yes, Greene and her far-right contemporaries often express and advocate for many, at best absurd, at worst fascist, ideas. But take one moment to consider what would happen if any Democrat suggested this notion: that any individual moving away from a red state into a blue state would have to wait five years to vote. That, unless you agree with us, you’re not allowed to participate in electing the representatives who would hold power over you.

“...This would be up to red states to be able to choose to do something like that, so that their red states don’t get changed,” Greene continued. “Which is what’s happening, unfortunately, when Democrat voters leave their Democrat states and they take their Democrat votes with them.”

Beyond being remarkably authoritarian, Greene’s comments don’t even seem coherent. Greene apparently forgets her own state has two Democratic senators (some may even risk calling this a “blue state”), and that, under her dream dictatorial proposition, people who move from blue states to red states, could, in fact, be conservatives too.

Greene has complained over and over again about Democrats apparently trying to “divide” America. Meanwhile, she has—among her history of racism, antisemitism, and inciting an attack on the Capitol—now called for a second secession and for red states to be able to control how people vote. Not exactly the recipe for a unifier, or really someone who should even still have a job in a body meant to serve everyone in this country, and not just the people she likes.

EPA Finally Beginning to Hold Norfolk Southern Accountable After Ohio Train Derailment

The Environmental Protection Agency is demanding the rail company responsible clean contaminated water and soil, and pick up the tab on all cleanup expenses.

Michael Swensen/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, seized the reins of the cleanup in East Palestine, Ohio, after the disastrous Norfolk Southern train derailment that left thousands of residents sick and distrustful of the company’s remediation efforts. The EPA is also directing Norfolk Southern to pick up the tab on all cleanup expenses.

“The Norfolk Southern train derailment has upended the lives of East Palestine families, and EPA’s order will ensure the company is held accountable for jeopardizing the health and safety of this community,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “Let me be clear: Norfolk Southern will pay for cleaning up the mess they created and for the trauma they’ve inflicted on this community.”

The EPA directs Norfolk Southern to pursue all available avenues to clean contaminated water and soil, pay for any EPA expenses (including the cleaning services the agency will provide to community members), participate in public meetings, and publish relevant information online for the public. The EPA warned that if Norfolk Southern fails to comply, the agency would do the work itself and then seek triple the cost from the company.

Regan added that he understands the order “cannot undo the nightmare that families in this town have been living with, but it will begin to deliver much-needed comfort for the pain that Norfolk Southern has caused.”

While air tests thus far have mostly come back with no concerning levels of vinyl chloride or other contaminants from the train, residents are still concerned about further consistent testing, as well as more stringent testing of the water and soil; swaths of residents are still reporting symptoms, and reports of soiled waterways carrying dead creatures continue.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg sent a letter to Norfolk Southern, warning too that the company must “demonstrate unequivocal support” for the community and surrounding areas.

“Norfolk Southern must live up to its commitment to make residents whole—and must also live up to its obligation to do whatever it takes to stop putting communities such as East Palestine at risk,” Buttigieg said. “This is the right time for Norfolk Southern to take a leadership position within the rail industry, shifting to a posture that focuses on supporting, not thwarting, efforts to raise the standard of U.S. rail safety regulation.”

Buttigieg called some of these regulatory policies out by name, and how the rail industry has lobbied to weaken them: higher safety standards for trains carrying hazardous materials, electronic braking system for those trains, and a now-delayed deadline for instituting more durable rail cars for hazardous materials. He also said he will call on Congress to raise the cap on fines against railroads for violating regulations. Buttigieg’s letter seemed to be cognizant of the myriad of ways corporations have bought government support for deregulation, which is welcome news.

The White House has so far hesitated to take the lead on updating these regulations for fear of pushback from the rail industry. Buttigieg’s letter, too, ended with a rather ambiguous pledge: “Soon I will be laying out several steps that Norfolk Southern, and all major railroads, should take immediately to improve rail safety for workers and communities—in addition to prioritized actions planned at our department in furtherance of our safety mission.” It will be seen whether Buttigieg will actually reinstate much-needed regulations, whittled away by rail corporations, and solidify a pathway toward a safer railroad industry.

Donald Trump Says All Presidential Candidates Should Take “Mental Competency” Tests

As we all know, he would definitely ace that test.

Donald Trump makes a weird face on stage. A podium in front of him has a sign that reads "New Hampshire Republican Party."
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Donald Trump thinks every presidential candidate should have to take a mental competency test, which, as we all know, he would ace.

Trump’s comment Tuesday was in response to Nikki Haley’s proposal for mandatory mental competency tests for all politicians older than 75, a clear dig at both Trump, 76, and President Joe Biden, 80.

“ANYBODY running for the Office of President of the United States should agree to take a full & complete Mental Competency Test simultaneously (or before!) with the announcement that he or she is running, & likewise, but to a somewhat lesser extent, agree to a test which would prove that you are physically capable of doing the job,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “Being an outstanding President requires great mental acuity & physical stamina. If you don’t have these qualities or traits, it is likely you won’t succeed. MAGA!”

The former president is no stranger to mental competency tests. He went viral in the summer of 2020 when he bragged repeatedly about doing well on such an exam. Trump said one of the questions involved hearing a series of words and then repeating those words back. As a hypothetical example, he said the series could be, “Person, woman, man, camera, TV.”

Trump clearly thought he had taken a test that provided further proof of his being a “very stable genius.” As it turns out, he actually took the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which is usually administered to someone suspected of experiencing dementia or other cognitive declines. A perfect score on that test only shows the test-taker is not cognitively impaired.

As for Haley’s suggestion, not only is it ageist, but it’s also not that great a suggestion. Three geriatric health experts told Slate that the aging process varies from person to person, so a mental competency test won’t necessarily provide useful results.

There are huge individual differences in how people age. Some are sharp as a tack at 90 or 100, some have cognitive impairment in their 50s,” explained Carolyn Aldwin, the director of the gerontology program at Oregon State University.

A mental competency test also won’t measure leadership or diplomacy skills.

It would seem that Haley’s proposal isn’t really intended to change policy, but more to make her stand out from her opponents. At 51, she’s currently the youngest presidential candidate. But that can’t be her only thing.

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court Election: The Big Race You May Not Know About

An election for a seat on the state’s Supreme Court is turning into an expensive and high-stakes battle, with massive implications for abortion, voting rights, and democracy.

A bunch of people hold signs in the rotunda. In the forefront is a sign that reads "I love someone who had an abortion."
Sara Stathas/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Abortion rights supporters rally in the rotunda of the Wisconsin Capitol on January 22, 2022.

Wisconsin voters are heading to the polls Tuesday to determine which two candidates will proceed to compete for an open seat on the state Supreme Court. What may seem like a very specific statewide race in fact has massive implications for abortion, voting rights, and even national democracy.

The departure of a conservative judge, Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, has left both parties eager to seize her spot. While the election is technically “nonpartisan,” conservatives are aiming to defend their slim 4–3 majority on the court while Democrats hope to flip control for the first time in 15 years.

Such high stakes mean this could soon be the most expensive race of the year, with some estimating the race’s spending to exceed $30 million. (The previously most expensive race for a single state Supreme Court seat involved $15.2 million spent in a 2004 Illinois race.)

Almost $8 million has already been spent on the primary. Four candidates—two liberals and two conservatives—are vying to move on to the final round of the election. Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz has become the leading Democratic candidate, netting some $2.3 million since entering the race. Her fellow liberal Dane County Judge Everett Mitchell has raised about $223,000. Conservatives are backing Waukesha County Judge Jennifer Dorow and former Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, who lost his seat in 2020 to a liberal justice. Neither conservative candidate has surpassed $1 million in fundraising.

The stakes are all the higher as the rest of Wisconsin’s government branches are split. Democrat Tony Evers holds the governorship, while Republicans maintain control in the legislature; the gerrymander-enabled Republican legislature has proven to be an incredibly difficult obstacle for the agenda of a governor who was just reelected statewide. Republicans hold two-thirds of the state Senate and nearly two-thirds of the state Assembly, even while Democrats won the governor, secretary of state, and attorney general races in 2022.

The court is set to hear major cases, including a lawsuit from Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul against Wisconsin’s abortion ban that was activated after the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The court is also expected to rule on the heavily gerrymandered maps that have kept conservatives in control of the swing state since 2010. (Bear in mind, in 2016, Trump won the state by just about 23,000 votes; in 2020, Biden won by some 20,000 votes himself.)

The court will also hold a crucial role in the 2024 elections given Wisconsin’s swing state status, especially so if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. While the court has largely ruled in favor of conservatives on contentious questions (like banning absentee ballot drop boxes or slashing public sector union power), it narrowly ruled 4–3 to reject a Trump lawsuit that sought to overturn his 2020 loss in the state. Basic democracy narrowly survived in 2020; there’s no guarantee it would fare as well in 2024.

Rep. David Cicilline From Rhode Island to Resign, Setting Up Competitive Democratic Race

A special election for his seat will take place later this year.

Rep. David Cicilline from Rhode Island sits at a desk with a microphone.
Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images

Rhode Island Representative David Cicilline will resign at the end of May to lead a state charity foundation, setting up what is sure to be a competitive special election among Democrats.

Cicilline’s decision, first reported Tuesday by The Boston Globe, will trigger a special election after he steps down. This is the second time in two years that a Rhode Island lawmaker has caused a stir, after Representative James Langevin announced in 2022 he would retire after 11 terms in Congress. (Rhode Island has only two congressional districts.)

“For more than a decade, the people of Rhode Island entrusted me with a sacred duty to represent them in Congress, and it is a responsibility I put my heart and soul into every day,” Cicilline told the Globe. He promised to bring “the same energy and commitment” to serving as president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation.

Cicilline has served in Congress since 2011, and many political analysts thought the 61-year-old could hold the role for the rest of his life. He was hugely popular in his district, winning more than 64 percent of the vote during the 2022 midterms.

Before working on Capitol Hill, Cicilline was mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, for eight years. He was the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capital. Since then, he has become the longest-serving current House representative who identifies as LGBTQ.

On the Hill, Cicilline was a major advocate for antitrust law and LGBTQ rights. He chaired the House Subcommittee of Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, which held hearings with tech giants including Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Most recently, he participated in the hearings on Ticketmaster’s hold on the music performance industry.

Cicilline co-chairs the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and was a lead sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which codified marriage equality and passed with broad bipartisan support. He is also vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The congressman was able to draw on his experience serving as a Washington public defender in the 1980s during Donald Trump’s second impeachment. Cicilline was an impeachment manager during the former president’s trial for insurrection on January 6.

While Cicilline clearly enjoyed high standing in Congress and favorable public opinion at home, it’s possible he’s stepping away to have a more immediate effect on his constituents. Democrats are the minority party in the House, and Cicilline was not up for leadership positions such as whip or caucus chair.

He reportedly considered running for Rhode Island governor, but opted to stay in Congress. Now, running the Rhode Island Foundation will give him the power to influence and actually implement major policy decisions in his state, ranging from affordable health care to ending homelessness.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson Is Fundraising off the Ohio Train Disaster

The senator, who has received donations from the rail company responsible, is suddenly pretending to care.

Ron Johnson shakes someone's hand as supporters stand around him with signs that read "Ron Johnson for US Senate." A camera is in the background.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Senator Ron Johnson

Infamous tax-evading trust fund benefactor and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is fundraising off of the Ohio train derailment, a disaster he has played no role in helping to prevent and no role in helping to address.

On Monday, Johnson sent out an email from his Senate campaign with the subject line, “Have you noticed the silence around the train derailment too?”

“I fear we barely know the impact this disaster has caused. Nearby wildlife are dropping dead, fish are dying up and down the Ohio River and this is probably just the beginning,” Johnson’s email read. “We need answers and we need them NOW. But … the media is barely covering this.”

Apparently, Johnson hasn’t kept up to date with the myriad of outlets, including TNR, that have been actively covering the impact this disaster has caused. If there’s silence, Johnson himself seems to be part of it. Forget actual political advocacy; the senator’s two Twitter accounts have posted nothing about the derailment, or rail policy generally.

A button in the email also encouraged users to share their thoughts on why the media isn’t covering the story and fill out their contact information, presumably to build up Johnson’s newsletter list.

Despite his best efforts to pretend, the Wisconsin senator does not have a history of exhibiting any actual pro-worker, pro-rail safety concerns. In 2022 alone, Johnson received $7,500 from Norfolk Southern, the rail company responsible for the disaster in Ohio. Johnson is also most famous for evading millions in federal taxes, buying his Senate seat with even more millions brought from a company he inherited from his wife’s brother, and using his position to get $215 million in tax deductions for his two biggest campaign donors.

And he has maintained his wealth-favoring ideology in the sphere of rail policy too. One of the few rail-related bills that Johnson has co-sponsored was a bill introduced in the 113th and 114th Congresses backed by the Association of American Railroads; the bill sought to delay the industry-wide implementation of a monitoring system to help prevent train collisions and derailments. Norfolk Southern is among the companies represented by the association.

As if Johnson’s shameless impersonation of someone who actually cares about rail safety wasn’t enough, he concluded the email by asking for the reader to help pay off his campaign debts. “I hate to ask this, but will you help me finally see this campaign through to the end so I can double down on our Conservative efforts in the Senate?”

Why Is the Most Powerful Member of the House Handing Over January 6 Footage to Tucker Carlson?

Kevin McCarthy’s decision shows how little he cares about Fox News’s long-standing gag on its own viewers.

Tucker Carlson sitting at a table makes a weird face and air quotes with both hands

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has gifted exclusive access to 41,000 hours of surveillance footage from the January 6 attack on the Capitol to Fox’s Tucker Carlson. According to Axios, Carlson’s producers visited Capitol Hill last week to begin their endeavor of poring over the tapes. The footage is said to begin hitting the airwaves on Carlson’s shows in the coming weeks.

McCarthy’s treat to the extremist TV host comes as part of the numerous concessions McCarthy made to a select group of far-right Republicans in exchange for their speakership votes. He pledged to make all the security footage from January 6 public, which apparently means tying it all up in a bow for Carlson to exclusively and selectively present on his shows to construct conspiracy theories with.

One of McCarthy’s bargaining intransigents, Representative Lauren Boebert, hailed the decision:

Again, however, despite Boebert’s celebration, funneling footage of a domestic riot to only one member of an extremist media organization is not releasing the footage to “the public.”

McCarthy’s gift to Carlson comes while newly revealed texts showed that Carlson and many of his Fox News colleagues, like Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, don’t really buy much of the conspiratorial content surrounding the 2020 presidential election that they themselves push.

As Fox producer Justin Wells texted Carlson’s producer: “We’re threading a needle that has to be thread because of the dumb fucks at Fox on Election Day. We can’t make people think we’ve turned against Trump. Yet also call out the bullshit. You and I see through it. But we have to reassure some in the audience.”

McCarthy’s decision shows he supports Fox’s long-standing gag on its own viewers. Fox anchors like Carlson and members of Congress like Boebert will posture the move as an act of radical transparency, suggesting the clips to be newly unearthed as if the January 6 hearings didn’t already show Americans and the world the havoc of the riots.

Perhaps the move is an attempt to dilute the reality of how violent the riot was: just present thousands of hours of inaction or argue that the larger majority of protesters were simply expressing their First Amendment right to free speech. Maybe Carlson will spend dedicated segments railing against the Capitol police, trying out ways to blame those defending the Capitol and divert blame away from the people attacking it. Whatever Carlson plans to do with the tapes, the move by the most powerful member of the House to coordinate with an extremist media giant is audacious enough to warrant its own “Twitter Files”–esque outrage from those who claim to take issue with such actions—but don’t hold your breath.

Norfolk Southern Has Thrown Roughly $100 Million Into Politics Since 1990

If you’re wondering how the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, happened, here’s one clue.

An aerial shot of 11 cargo trains are jammed into one another in a zig-zag pattern. Smoke billows.
The site of a derailed Norfolk Southern freight train in East Palestine, Ohio

In 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan summed up everything you need to know about American politics: “Cash Rules Everything Around Me.” And the rail industry has certainly fulfilled that idea, spending more than $756,700,000 to lobby the government since 1998, according to data from OpenSecrets. In other words, railroad companies have thrown three-quarters of a billion dollars, or more than Poland’s current GDP, toward currying favor with the government meant to oversee them. This gargantuan figure does not include an additional nearly $100 million in direct campaign contributions over that same time period.

And so, as state and federal officials stumble to support residents of East Palestine, Ohio, after the disastrous Norfolk Southern train derailment, and as people wonder how such an incident happened at all, the answer lies, in part, in why the government often stalls to solve many other problems: money.

Take the culprit rail company, Norfolk Southern, for example. Beyond joining its fellow corporations in lobbying the government to strip regulation, like the Obama-era rule that mandated train cars carrying hazardous materials (like those derailed in East Palestine) to have better brakes, Norfolk Southern has also contributed millions of dollars directly to politicians. The $55 billion company has spent nearly $80 million since 1998 on lobbying; since 1990, it has sent about $17 million directly to candidates’ coffers.

The entire rail industry’s spending is largely bipartisan and ever slightly tilted toward Republicans. As far as contributions to Democrats go, the companies generally opt for generically liberal or moderate members.

Some of these donations are especially consequential. Almost half the Republicans on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation received money from Norfolk Southern in 2022; nearly half of the 65-member House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure received money from the company—both Republicans and Democrats. Given that Biden administration officials have admitted that, out of fear of “pushback from industry,” they hope Congress takes the lead on issuing much-needed industry rules, these numbers are not promising.

And the cherry on top of all this “C.R.E.A.M.”? Most lobbyists working to make these giant corporations’ profit-stealing, risk-taking pursuits easier come directly from government work. In 2022, 75 percent of Norfolk Southern’s lobbyists previously held government positions. Some of these individuals worked in the Reagan administration’s Department of Energy, in Senator Joe Manchin’s office, or as a liaison with the Blue Dog Coalition (the House caucus of centrist and conservative Democrats). Some even served in Congress themselves, like former Senators Trent Lott (Republican) and John Breaux (conservative Democrat).

All this influence gives perhaps a bit more color to the government’s eagerness in December to impose a contract onto striking rail workers, whose demands included both necessary benefits for themselves and also prescient safety standards that would make trains safer for the public.

The Trump administration rolling back Obama-era regulations, and the Biden administration still not reinstating them, are pages of a larger story of a nation wedded to capital. Of course, the idea of big corporations buying weaker regulations from our politicians is not unfamiliar in America; it’s a ridiculous-in-its-normalcy dynamic that extends beyond rail, to industries like guns and fossil fuels. Accordingly, just as we are subject to constant mass shootings and climate change–induced catastrophes, we are now coming to terms with the stakes of another pay-to-play-around industry that helps lead to over 1,000 train derailments every year.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Commits Borderline Sedition

It seems the Georgia representative has forgotten about the Fourteenth Amendment.

On Monday, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene showed yet again that she can’t commit to the bit of even pretending to be reining herself in from far-right extremism. Instead, she’s looking to escalate the conservative-fostered culture war into a civil one.

Greene’s call for a “national divorce” comes after the representative has complained over and over again about Democrats apparently trying to “divide” America. It also follows her attempted “rebrand,” as she has tried to straddle the lines between the furthest right parts of her party and some portions of the establishment wing.

The new narrative stems in large part from Greene’s allyship with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as he sought to attain the speakership last month in a historically grueling selection process. The House speakership vote left the Republican leader domineered by a select group of far-right members who secured radical rules changes and key committee spots, even usurping other Republicans who supported McCarthy from the beginning. Greene, though, toed the line, by virtue of having the history she does as one of the ring leaders of that radical caucus while urging members to support McCarthy. She now sits on both the House Oversight and Homeland Security committees.

Greene, who McCarthy has since said he would “never leave” and “always take care of,” is said to also be attempting this balancing act in order to posture herself up as twice-impeached former President Donald Trump’s 2024 VP pick if he wins. 

Earlier in January, when Greene was asked about her beliefs in QAnon, the representative suddenly distanced herself from one of the key characteristics of her congressional career: reactionary conspiracy.

“Like a lot of people today, I had easily got sucked into some things I’d seen on the internet,” she said. “But that was dealt with quickly early on. I never campaigned on those things. That’s not something I believed in, that’s not what I ran for Congress on, so those are so far in the past,” she claimed.

QAnon supporters were among the most aggressive rioters who attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021—an attack Greene herself played no small part in helping to incite. A riot too, that Greene recently claimed she “would have won,” if she and Bannon had a stronger role in organizing it. “Not to mention, it would’ve been armed,” she said.

Win or lose, numerous January 6 rioters were arrested on charges of sedition—an action that Greene herself is whipping up once again with her own seditious tweet calling to split the country. After becoming speaker, McCarthy proudly led a reading of the Constitution on the House floor; it seems Greene was absent for the part on the Fourteenth Amendment.

Greene’s attempts to straddle the lines between the establishment and the most extreme parts of her party don’t actually make much substantive policy difference. Greene can ally herself with McCarthy, or pretend to disavow QAnon beliefs—none of it matters. Even pretending to be “reasonable” in America’s Republican Party just means you may present yourself as only far-right, instead of far-far-right.

The agenda is still largely the same: which is to say, demonize gay and trans people, attack people’s right to choose, and cut social spending that millions of people rely on. In other words, the agenda is to embrace the right-ward shift Trump only accelerated. It doesn’t matter which “wing” a Republican may present themselves to be a part of. Don’t believe it? Try counting how many times any announced or potential GOP presidential candidate—from Nikki Haley to Ron DeSantis, to Tim Scott—have actually, forthrightly said anything bad about Trump, the opponent they’re supposed to want to beat.