WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., spoke before a meeting of white nationalists who support Russian President Vladimir Putin, drawing a rebuke Saturday from the leader of the Republican National Committee and others.
“White supremacy, neo-Nazism, hate speech and bigotry are disgusting and do not have a home in the Republican Party," RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said.
Greene, who is barred from sitting on congressional committees because of extremist comments, said she did not know the views of the delegates at the conference and did not apologize for speaking there.
In a tweet, Greene said she would not be drawn into "the guilt by association game in which you demand every conservative should justify anything ever said by anyone they’ve ever shared a room with."
"I talked about God and Liberty," Greene said. "I’m also not going to turn down the opportunity to speak to 1,200 young America First patriots because of a few off-color remarks by another speaker, even if I find those remarks unsavory."
The Georgia Republican appeared Friday night in Orlando at the America First Political Action Conference, an event designed to counter the Conservative Political Action Conference in the same city.
Greene also appeared at CPAC, where she told reporters she does not support the president of Russia: "Putin is a murderer, and he should never have invaded Ukraine."
CPAC banned the organizer of the alternate conference, Nicholas Fuentes, for his extremist views. The Anti-Defamation League described Fuentes as a "well-known white supremacist pundit and organizer," who has expressed support for the nation's “white demographic core."
In his address to his conference, Fuentes joked about Russia's invasion of Ukraine: “Now they’re going on about Vladimir Putin and Russia, and Vladimir Putin is Hitler – and they say that’s not a good thing."
Smiling, Fuentes added that "I shouldn’t have said that," then laughed.
The crowd at the America First conference chanted, "Putin, Putin."
At the CPAC event, former President Donald Trump gave a shout-out to Greene, joking that she is "very shy" and "doesn't like speaking her mind, but she does it anyway." The CPAC crowd gave Greene a loud cheer.
Some lawmakers and conservative commentators noted that top Republicans, such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said nothing about Greene's appearance before white nationalists.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., also appeared by video at the event.
"As Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep Paul Gosar speak at this white supremacist, anti-Semitic, pro-Putin event, silence by Republican Party leaders is deafening and enabling," Cheney tweeted. "All Americans should renounce this garbage and reject the Putin wing of the GOP now."
The Democratic National Committee said in a statement that "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 anti-Semitism."
Last year, the Democratic-led U.S. House banned Greene from serving on committees because of comments that expressed support for QAnon conspiracy theories and threatened lawmakers.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks at white nationalist conference