White House defends tweets about Marjorie Taylor Greene, other GOP leaders

The White House defended tweets it posted on Thursday about GOP lawmakers who criticized President Joe Biden‘s plan to eliminate some student loan debt for many Americans.

“We’ve never hesitated to call out hypocrisy, and we’re not going to stop now,” Alexandra LaManna, a White House spokeswoman, said in a statement provided to Newsweek.

The messages from the official Twitter account for the White House referenced Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that several prominent Republican leaders have had forgiven. Among those directly addressed on Twitter were Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene and Pennsylvania Representative Mike Kelly.

The Twitter posts started after several Republicans denounced Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan on public outlets like news talk shows and social media.

Biden’s plan, announced on Wednesday, will provide debt relief to tens of millions of Americans. The president said he would forgive $10,000 in student loan debt for those earning less than $125,000 per year, as well as $20,000 for those who had received Pell Grants for low-income families.

“It’s important to make clear that many of the same people calling student loan debt relief—which will help the middle class and working families by giving them more breathing room—a bailout for the wealthy had no issue with loan bailouts that benefited their own companies,” LaManna said, “and no issue with giving tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy.”

In this photo, Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia is seen speaking at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit held at the Tampa Convention Center on July 23 in Tampa, Florida. The White House Twitter account has brought up Paycheck Protection Program loans taken out by Greene and other GOP lawmakers following their criticism of President Joe Biden’s relief plan for student loan debt.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

After Greene criticized Biden’s plan on Newsmax, the White House Twitter account tweeted out a clip of her appearance. It captioned its message: “Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene had $183,504 in PPP loans forgiven.”

On Wednesday, Republican Representative Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania tweeted, “Asking plumbers and carpenters to pay off the loans of Wall Street advisors and lawyers isn’t just unfair. It’s also bad policy.”

“Congressman Mike Kelly had $987,237 in PPP loans forgiven,” the White House responded in a Thursday post.

Republican Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida was also subjected to the same treatment, though the message addressing him came after he spoke out against giving more relief funds to Ukraine to help it defend itself from the Russian invasion.

“Everyone knows that in a $60 Billion+ European land war, it’s always the last $3 Billion that kicks in the door,” Gaetz wrote on Thursday.

Later that day, the White House tweeted, “Congressman Matt Gaetz had $482,321 in PPP loans forgiven.”

Other Republican House members singled out by the White House were Representatives Vern Buchanan of Florida and Markwayne Mullin and Kevin Hern of Oklahoma. All the individuals had PPP loans—which were provided by the federal government to those affected by the coronavirus pandemic—forgiven in six- and seven-figure amounts.

When contacted for comment, a spokesperson for Kelly directed Newsweek to a response the congressman posted on Twitter.

“A Democrat governor declared my family’s business non-essential and shut our doors. This money saved over 160 essential jobs in Western Pennsylvania during the pandemic,” Kelly wrote. “PPP loans are designed to be forgiven. Student loans are not. Big difference!”

Nick Dyer, a spokesperson for Greene, responded to Newsweek with a statement.

“We’ve scoured the White House Twitter feed and can’t seem to find a tweet condemning the acts of political terrorism committed against Congresswoman Greene this week,” Dyer wrote. “It’s a shame that Joe Biden and his spokesmen in the media continue to make MTG a target simply because she is outspoken against Democrat policies, like genital mutilation surgeries for minors.”

Newsweek also reached out to Gaetz for comment.

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