Cass County GOP again censures Upton, this time not over impeachment

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

The Cass County Republican Party has again censured GOP U.S. Rep. Fred Upton — this time over his vote to remove Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committees.

But Upton of St. Joseph was quick to defend his vote. He was among 11 House Republicans who voted Feb. 4 to expel Greene from her committee roles over past inflammatory comments, saying her harassment of a Parkland shooting survivor was "unforgivable."

The executive committee of the Cass GOP on Tuesday night adopted a resolution blasting the "attack" on Greene and saying she was being "canceled" because she is "unafraid to speak out."

"We believe Congressman Upton's vote is a betrayal of his oath of office and core values of the Cass County Republican Party," the resolution stated, adding that Upton's vote was against the interests of county voters. 

Upton was swift and incredulous in his response, highlighting the Cass County GOP's claim that Greene's comments "have not been out of line with anyone else's comments."

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph

"Really? She taunted a Parkland school shooting survivor, argued that California wildfires were started by a Jewish space laser, accused Democratic politicians of running a pedophile ring out of a pizza parlor, and questioned whether 9/11 really happened," Upton said.

"Does the Cass GOP really think someone like that represents Republican values and should be serving on the education committee?"

Upton noted that he served on the House Education panel, met with survivors of the Columbine school shooting, and has since met with Parkland and Sandy Hook School shooting survivors to hear their personal stories.

"She should not be on the education committee, and Congress was right to remove her, period," Upton said. "I stand by my vote."

Upton previously told The Detroit News that the last straw for him was Greene's failure to apologize for her "accosting" David Hogg, a student who survived the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 that left 17 dead in Parkland, Florida, and is now a gun-control activist. 

Upton was referencing a March 2019 video in which Greene followed Hogg across the grounds of the U.S. Capitol as she made false claims about the attack on his school and told him that she carried a gun. She then called Hogg a "coward" as he walked away without responding. 

"I met with the Parkland students, and those moments are so traumatic," said Upton, who has represented southwest Michigan in Congress since 1987. "For her to accost a teen survivor the way that she did without an apology is unforgivable."

The Cass County GOP also censured Upton in late January over his vote to impeach former President Donald Trump over his role in fomenting the angry riot that breached the Capitol on Jan. 6. 

The congressman has also been censured by the Calhoun County GOP and the Berrien County Republican Party — his home county — citing a "hasty" impeachment by the House and due process concerns. 

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.

Greene, an ardent supporter of Trump, has slammed the Republicans who joined Democrats to strip her of her committee assignments.

"People are very angry. That's all I've heard from people all morning — furious about that," she said the day after the vote stripping her of her assignments to the Budget and Education panels.

"I hope that my Republican colleagues really think about what they've done. I'm sure they're going to hear from their voters at home because the base is loyal to President Trump and the base has been very loyal to me."

She also was defiant when asked about Hogg, saying she would not apologize for approaching him. 

“David Hogg was an adult when I talked to him. I don't think any of you have realized that,” Greene said. "No, I'm not sorry for telling him he shouldn't push for gun control."

Upton has said he would have preferred that House Republicans had yanked Greene from the education panel, which would have allowed GOP lawmakers to argue that they'd already punished her.

"Republicans should have done this on our own," said Upton, who sits on the GOP Steering Committee that determines committee assignments.  

He noted the GOP conference had done so as recently as 2019 with Iowa Rep. Steve King over racist comments. The party also kicked former Michigan Rep. Justin Amash off the Budget Committee in 2012 for voting against the party line on a budget measure. 

"This is dirty laundry, and it is best resolved within the conference itself, and it wasn’t, which would have prevented the vote," Upton said.