Is Marjorie Taylor Greene’s escalating feud with Lauren Boebert a warning for the GOP?

When Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) burst into the national consciousness during the run-up to the 2020 elections, the pair were frequently lumped together as dual avatars of the most extreme elements of former President Donald Trump’s MAGA movement; both have documented histories of overt antisemitism, hyper-militarization, casual Islamophobia, and Qanon-tinged conspiracy-mongering. It’s understandable, then, that some would cast the pair as a unified front at the vanguard of the incoming Republican congressional class. 

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Three years later, that front has not only cracked, but shattered completely. Longstanding tensions between Boebert and Greene burst into full public view last month in a vulgar shouting match between the two on the House floor (“She has genuinely been a nasty little bitch to me,” Greene later explained to Semafor) from which neither woman has backed down. But no matter the personal animosity that exists between these lawmakers, now both in their second terms, is there more to their volatile schism than their particular dislike of one another — particularly as fellow Republicans this week told The Daily Beast that the rift is “even worse than most people think”? 

What are the commentators saying? 

Earlier this month, Greene was ignominiously booted from the far-right House Freedom Caucus, NBC News reported, citing the Boebert confrontation on the House floor as a major factor in the decision to oust the caucus’ highest profile member. Greene “has consistently attacked other members of the Freedom Caucus in an irresponsible way, and as a result of that she was kicked out,” Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) told the network. While Slate called the Boebert/Greene floor fight the “final straw,” Buck nevertheless cautioned that “it’s not one simple attack. It’s not what happened on the floor a few weeks ago with Lauren Boebert. It is a series of really poorly thought-out attacks on other members.”

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Still, though Greene’s clashes with Boebert were what reportedly ossified the caucus’ resolve to remove her, they’ve also “taken issue with Greene’s fierce loyalty to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, which they feel runs counter to the founding mission of the Freedom Caucus — a crew that built its reputation as a thorn in the side of leadership,” CNN explained. “The reality is they’re mad at her for playing ball with McCarthy and, and still being one of Trump,” one conservative lawmaker told the network. 

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Moreover, Greene’s support for McCarthy’s initial speaker’s bid has itself been a major factor in her personal falling out with Boebert, with Boebert saying “I’ve been aligned with Marjorie and accused of believing a lot of the things that she believes in. I don’t believe in this just like I don’t believe in Russian space lasers, Jewish space lasers” during a 2022 speech. Greene’s antics during McCarthy’s historically drawn-out speaker’s bid alienated Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Wy.), as well, The Daily Beast said, citing Greene’s unsuccessful effort to foist a phone call with Trump onto the lawmaker in the hopes that the former president could convince him to back McCarthy. “Getting busted for waving away Trump’s call was a bad look for the right-wing congressman” who is reportedly considering a future run for the Senate, “and he didn’t forgive Greene for putting him in that situation.”

Greene has attempted to cast herself as a major, and mainstream, Republican heavyweight, with concrete influence within the party. “I enjoy being a free agent a lot better,” she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after being booted from the Freedom Caucus. “I’m interested in getting accomplishments done, not doing things just to disrupt and fight leadership. And that’s a major difference.”

What comes next? 

“The spat with Greene may convince some moderates that Boebert is becoming more serious,” the Daily Beast said, cautioning that it may also “turn off some of her fiercest conservative supporters across the country.” This is the same dynamic that’s played — and continues to play — out across the GOP, as presidential candidates attempt to balance their attacks on party frontrunner Donald Trump with an eye toward the general election, while not alienating his ultra-conservative base during primaries.

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Although Greene and Boebert show little sign of reconciling anytime soon, there are indications that the overarching reality of the House Republicans’ tenuous majority may supersede any personal animosity between the pair — and the party factions they’ve come to represent. “Protect The House 2024, a joint fundraising committee launched by McCarthy earlier this year, donated over $31,000 to Rep. Lauren Boebert … in late June despite her alliance with conservative members who have attempted to undercut McCarthy,” Fox News reported, adding that “McCarthy’s own campaign committee also donated $2,000 to Boebert in June.” Given Boebert’s barely-there victory in 2022, McCarthy and his allies — as well as Boebert herself — seem to understand that maintaining their majority supplants all other internecine considerations.

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To that end, Greene’s carefully calculated positioning of herself as a “free agent” who can straddle the party’s furthest right flank and its leadership tier appears to be paying dividends to the Georgia congresswoman — particularly as she enjoys the sort of decisive advantage for reelection in her home district that Boebert seems to lack. Like McCarthy, she is one of the party’s top fundraisers, affording her the ability to extend, or deny, her largess to other Republicans as she sees fit. “The Freedom Caucus has relied on Greene as a fundraiser for the group,” the Daily Beast pointed out, noting that her departure means the group “also now has a powerful conservative voice against them.”

Greene and Boebert’s feud, beyond merely the personal, seems to offer a case study in the state of the GOP as a whole. On one hand, there are a considerable number of Republicans like Boebert, who are hoping to claim the mantle of “most conservative” while increasingly pulling the party to the furthest extremes. On the other, there’s Greene, who has managed to bolster her hard right bona fides, without losing — and indeed, actually growing — her influence among many of her peers. To the extent that Greene has been able to maintain her relationship with Trump and his base while increasingly flexing her party influence suggests that she, rather than Boebert, is the template more and more of her colleagues will likely seek to emulate moving forward.  

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