The two have clashed repeatedly in the past, but Harris indicated that particular spat had factored into the conservative group’s thinking.
“I think the way she referred to a fellow member was probably not the way we expect our members to refer to other fellow, especially female, members,” Harris said Thursday. The Maryland Republican declined to say how he voted but called the decision to remove her “an appropriate action.”
It’s the first time the conservative caucus has booted one of its own and reflects the group’s increasing level of frustration with Greene. She’s closely allied herself with Speaker Kevin McCarthy this year, lining up against many Freedom Caucus members when she supported both his rocky speakership bid and his debt deal with President Joe Biden. At the same time, the group is working through a post-Trump crossroads, with some fretting the group is at risk of becoming too friendly with the party establishment.
Asked if her support for McCarthy and the debt deal fed into the decision to remove her from the group, Harris replied: “I think all of that mattered.”
“I think the straw that broke the camel’s back was publicly saying things about another member in terms that no one should,” he said.
A Freedom Caucus spokesperson declined to comment on Greene’s status, noting that the group doesn’t comment on membership or internal processes. Greene did not directly address her Freedom Caucus membership in a statement on Thursday, instead saying that: “In Congress, I serve Northwest Georgia first, and serve no group in Washington.”
“The GOP has less than two years to show America what a strong, unified Republican-led Congress will do when President Trump wins the White House in 2024. This is my focus, nothing else,” she added.
Greene typically attends the group’s weekly off-campus meeting. But that closed-door gathering is limited to members, meaning she would no longer be able to attend.
While it’s the first time the group has formally voted to remove a member from its ranks, she’s not the first to leave. Then-Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan previously quit the group in 2019 and left the Republican Party shortly after. Harris noted that there was “one other member a couple of years ago, who we probably would have asked to leave, but we just decided not to.”
And it might not end at Greene. There’s been discussion about targeting a handful of members beyond the Georgia Republican, who critics see as violating group standards by being inactive. House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) previously told POLITICO that he had denied those purge requests, which came before the vote to remove Greene.
“The speaker’s race, there was some difference in opinion. The debt ceiling, there were differences of opinion. And we had to get 80 percent on any major issue that we take positions on,” Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), a Freedom Caucus member, previously told POLITICO, referring to the threshold needed for the group to take a unified stance. “On some big issues, we have not been able to get there.”
The group is currently at the center of the fight over government funding as they try to push McCarthy and members of leadership to go below levels set in the debt deal and to hold the line when he, ultimately, has to negotiate with the White House and Senate Democrats.
Though the group is largely unified on wanting lower spending, they’ve also haggled in private about what their strategy should be after they cut a deal with McCarthy to end a weeklong standoff that ground the House floor to a halt.
Harris, however, argued that after booting Greene there were no other remaining “large divisions” and praised Perry.
“This wasn’t even a speed bump,” Harris added.
Olivia Beavers contributed to this report.