Calls to expel Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene after speech at white nationalist event

<span>Photograph: Marco Bello/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Marco Bello/Reuters
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Republican leaders are facing fresh demands to expel the Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, after she spoke at a conference of white nationalists and sympathisers with Vladimir Putin.

Related: Poll: US majority believes no Russian invasion with Trump as president

The event in Orlando, Florida, on Friday night was organised by the far-right extremist Nick Fuentes, who told attendees: “Now they’re going on about Russia and Vladimir Putin is Hitler – they say that’s not a good thing.”

He burst into laughter as he added: “I shouldn’t have said that!”

Fuentes, recently subpoenaed for his involvement in the January 6 insurrection, proudly introduced Taylor Greene at the third annual America First Political Action Conference, or AFPAC.

The Georgia congresswoman told the gathering they were “canceled Americans” who had a responsibility to “stop the Democrats who are the communist party of the United States of America”, HuffPost reported.

Her patronage of AFPAC, where the Arizona congressman Paul Gosar also appeared via pre-recorded video, provoked sharp condemnation of party leaders for failing to discipline her.

Liz Cheney, a member of the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot, tweeted: “As Rep[resentative] Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep[resentative] Paul Gosar speak at this white supremacist, antisemitic, pro-Putin event, silence by Republican party leaders is deafening and enabling.

“All Americans should renounce this garbage and reject the Putin wing of the GOP now.”

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) pointed out that Kevin McCarthy, the Republican minority leader in the House, has consistently failed to take action against Greene.

Ammar Moussa, a spokesperson for the DNC, said: “In any other world, Greene speaking at a white supremacist conference where attendees have defended Vladimir Putin and praised Adolf Hitler would warrant expulsion from the caucus, to say nothing of her advocacy for violence and consistent antisemitism is disgusting.

“Quite simply, the longer Kevin McCarthy gives Marjorie Taylor Greene an unfettered platform and promises to elevate her, the more complicit he is.”

On Saturday, Greene sought to defend her appearance at AFPAC. She told CBS News: “I went to talk to them about America First policies and I talked to them about what’s important for our country going forward.

“Now, in regards to Russia, Putin is a murderer and he should never have invaded Ukraine. What he is doing is completely wrong. I stand with our Nato member allies and I’m completely against this war. Everything that he’s doing is wrong. He’s killing people over and over so I’m staunchly against it and I’m staunchly against Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine.”

Asked if she endorses Fuentes’s views, Taylor Greene claimed: “I don’t know what his views are.”

Told that he is a white nationalist, she said: “I do not endorse those views.”

Greene gave the interview on the sidelines of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a separate event in Orlando. She appeared on a panel hours before former president Donald Trump was due to speak.

The congresswoman attacked Twitter for banning her and promoted Trump’s new social media site, Truth Social. She taunted Hillary Clinton, the former Democratic presidential nominee, and Anthony Fauci, infectious diseases expert and chief medical adviser to Joe Biden.

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“We have to hold Democrats accountable, everybody. Right? Fire Fauci! We’ve got to investigate Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Lock her up! Lock them all up!”

With that she laughed, as the audience burst into applause.

Greene has a history of antisemitic and incendiary comments that include blaming California wildfires on “Jewish space lasers”, suggesting Muslims do not belong in government and warning that “gazpacho police” – presumably she meant Gestapo – patrol the US Capitol.

But the timing of her AFPAC speech could hardly have been more provocative.

Fred Wellman, a political consultant and Iraq war veteran, commented on Twitter: “This is where Marjorie Taylor Greene spent her evening. Laughing about comparisons to Hitler being bad. This is who she is. You know they burned crosses in Martin Luther King’s yard just 62 years ago. It’s time for Georgia to put this trash out forever.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition joined the condemnation.

“It is appalling and outrageous that a member of Congress would share a platform with an individual who has actively spread antisemitic bile, mocked the Holocaust and promoted dangerous anti-Israel conspiracy theories,” the group said in a statement.

“This has absolutely no place in the Republican Party.”