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Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday said freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's (R-Ga.) controversial comments promoting conspiracy theories and condoning violence against Democrats are "cancer" for the Republican Party.

Why it matters: Greene has been a central focus for House Republicans in recent weeks, including for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). McConnell is now the highest-ranking Republican to condemn Greene's behavior.

  • The House Rules Committee is meeting on Wednesday to discuss potentially removing Greene from her committee assignments.
  • Rep. Steny Hoyer told Axios' Kadia Goba, "It is my hope and expectation that Republicans will do the right thing and hold Rep. Greene accountable, and we will not need to consider this resolution. But we are prepared to do so if necessary."

Context: A similar move was taken against former Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) in 2019 after a series of racist comments.

What they're saying: "Somebody who's suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.'s airplane is not living in reality," McConnell said in a statement.

  • "This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party."

Go deeper

"SNL" cold open skewers Marjorie Taylor Greene for conspiracy theories

A screenshot of "SNL" regulars Kate McKinnon as a talk show host and Cecily Strong as Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene, who quips in the cold open: "Thanks for having me. Gun?" Photo: NBC

"Saturday Night Live" returned with a talk show called " "What Still Works" for the first cold open of 2021, covering the likes of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), the GameStop stock market controversy and the vaccine rollout.

The big picture: Cecily Strong's Taylor Greene unleashed a raft of baseless conspiracies in her interview with host Kate McKinnon, who quipped as she left: "So government doesn't work." This week's host John Krasinski showed up as Tom Brady, whom McKinnon noted "might be the only thing in America that still works" but added "it’s not like you're a weird Trump guy, right?"

Jan 31, 2021 - Politics & Policy

White House plans to bypass national media

Jen Psaki answers her first set of public questions. Via Twitter.

President Biden's team knows his national media honeymoon is coming to an end, so it's preparing to speak directly to the American people through local reporters and avoid distractions with its anti-Trumpian approach of ignoring Twitter.

Why it matters: The White House controlled the narrative for the first 12 days with daily themes and choreographed executive orders, but its communicators know they must be innovative as the press corps steps up its independent scrutiny, and they try to sell initiatives like a coronavirus relief package.

California governor declares drought emergency in most counties

A sign in April on the outskirts of Buttonwillow in California's Kern County, one of the top agriculture producing counties in the San Joaquin Valley, after historically low winter rainfall. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) extended a drought emergency declaration to cover 41 of the state's 58 counties on Monday.

Why it matters: Most of California and the American West are experiencing an "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, per the U.S. Drought Monitor. Newsom and other officials are concerned California could experience a repeat of the catastrophic 2020 wildfire season.

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