One odd quirk of the House Freedom Caucus, that hardline group of forty-something rabble rousers that was founded in 2012 to strong-arm G.O.P. establishment snowflakes into submission, is that no one knows exactly who is a member at any given time. This confusion derives, in part, from the group’s Fight Club-esque rules: Most importantly, you do not talk about the Freedom Caucus.
Apart from Chairman Scott Perry and its self-declared members, fellow travelers cannot be identified by any outward characteristics. Is Matt Gaetz, a close Trump ally and sworn enemy of Kevin McCarthy, in the group? (Maybe; I reached out to him but didn’t hear back.) How about Thomas Massie, the small-government libertarian and Reason magazine hero currently heading the Weaponization of the Federal Government Subcommittee? (Surprisingly, he’s a no.) Meanwhile, for the past few weeks, Capitol Hill has been consumed by the internecine drama surrounding the status of MAGA darling Marjorie Taylor Greene. Was it true that she had been kicked out of the H.F.C. clubhouse, and if so, why?
It’s a question that’s roiled Washington, or at least a part of it, since before the July recess, when Rep. Andy Harris confirmed to reporters that a vote to oust her had taken place. (He did not divulge the result.) Greene herself did not confirm whether she had been expunged, but told reporters that she was “here for my district, not a group in Washington.” Finally, after weeks of did they or didn’t they, Rep. Ken Buck confirmed Wednesday that Greene was indeed voted out, ostensibly for criticizing other members. “We have diverse opinions in the Freedom Caucus. It’s not monolithic, but insofar as attacking other members, it just shouldn’t be tolerated over and over again,” he told NBC, citing the schoolyard incident in which Greene called her colleague Lauren Boebert a “little bitch” on the House floor, along with several other “really poorly thought-out attacks on other members.”