GOP Freshman Class President for the 116th Congress—Anti-Vaccination Conspiracy Doctor Mark Green December 18, 2018
Congratulations Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)! It looks like the Democratic House majority for the upcoming 116th Congress (1/03/2019-1/03/2021), to paraphrase Indiana Jones, “will choose wisely,” by giving Pelosi the gavel. Pelosi, who was previously Speaker from 2007-2011, when she helped push through Obama’s stimulus, health care, and Wall Street reform bills, will, be Speaker at another crucial time. She will be opposing Demagogue Donald’s agenda. She will also be helping her Democratic-led committees investigate his crooked finances and shady dealings with Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other foreign governments and individuals. After seeing Pelosi take Donald “to the political cleaners” on live TV, no one should have any doubt about her ability. The incoming freshman Democratic class additionally elected two very competent co-Presidents, Dallas Cong. Colin Allred (TX 32nd CD, Congressional District) and Haley Stevens (MI 11th CD). Allred, a former NFL football player, was formerly an attorney who worked in the Obama administration and a civil rights/voting rights litigator (Chung, Berkeley-law-alum,2/09/18, issuu.com/perkinscoie/docs/2015). He defeated powerful incumbent GOP Cong. Pete Sessions (Schwartz, B., 11/06/18, cnbc.com). Cong.-elect Stevens, a volunteer organizer, worked on the Hillary and Obama 2008 campaigns and later became chief-of-staff on the Presidential Task force on the Auto Industry. She won the open seat previously held by GOP Cong. Dave Trott. Trott had made his fortune harshly repossessing the assets of helpless debtors (freep.com, 10/31/18, freep.com, 11/06/18).
Contrast, Pelosi, Allred, and Stevens to their new incoming GOP House counterparts. Former House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) remains a solid Trump loyalist, which helped him win the Minority Leadership post for the 116th Congress. His unswerving devotion to Trump, however, helped Democrats flip seven CA seats formerly held by the GOP into Column “Blue,” a major key to their taking back the House (See LA Times, Barabak & Wire, 11/28/18). And then there is the new president of the freshman GOP class, Dr. Mark Green. Green was unanimously elected by 30 of his first-year peers (shareblue.com). Mark Green, MD, has embraced the debunked conspiracy/fringe theory that vaccines may cause autism. At a meeting with constituents after he was elected to the House from TN, Green claimed that “there is some concern that the rise in autism is a result of preservatives that are in our vaccines (shareblue.com, 12/14/18, Martin, D.).” When asked to clarify this statement, Dr. Green doubled down. He stated, “There appears to be some evidence that as vaccine numbers increase, rates of autism increase. We need better research and we need it fast.” This conspiracy drivel is baseless and completely irresponsible for a doctor to utter. This “theory” has been completely debunked. It originally came from fraudulent research (shareblue.com, 12/14/18, Martin). Green later partially but weakly retracted these absurd comments. He said he had been “misconstrued (abcnews.com).” The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has been working to dispel this harmful myth. Dr. Peter Hotez, a pediatrician and dean of the school of tropical medicine at Baylor University, told NBC News, “Any physician who espouses overt anti-vaccine views is contributing to our national decline in public health, and could be considered in violation of their Hippocratic oath (shareblue.com).” Although pushing this anti-vaccine talk, Green himself admitted that he had vaccinated his children (abcnews.com). TN GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander attacked Dr. Green’s harmful views. He tweeted that vaccines take deadly, awful, ravaging diseases “from horror to history. Vaccines save lives (@ SenAlexander, 12/13/18).” On 12/13/2018, the TN Department of Health issued this statement, “Vaccines do not cause autism. Vaccines save lives. The Tennessee Department of Health welcomes discussion with Tennessee clinicians and scientists who would like to examine the evidence on this topic (abcnews.com).” Meet freshman Cong.-elect Dr. Mark Green.
Rookie-GOP Cong.-elect and Trump ally Dr. Mark Green (54) will represent TN’s 7th Congressional District (CD) in the 116th Congress, starting in 1/2019. The current Volunteer State 7th is TN’s largest district. The 7th borders MS and AL to the south and KY to the north. It is one of that state’s most sparsely settled areas. One-quarter of this CD lives in northern Montgomery County where the city of Clarksville is located. Another quarter of this CD’s population lives in Williamson County, south of Nashville, the state’s fastest growing county. Measured by median income, Williamson County is TN’s wealthiest and is heavily GOP. The entire TN 7th is considered a very safe Republican seat with an R+20 Cook PVI, Partisan Voting Index. The TN 7th has long been seen as that state’s most “Red” area outside of the GOP East TN heartland (Cook Political Report, 4/07/17, CQ & Barone 14 Political Almanacs).
Ashland City, TN native Mark Green graduated from West Point Military Academy. He received his medical degree while serving in the U.S. Army. He served for two decades as a flight surgeon. He wrote a book about treating Saddam Hussein after his capture. After retiring from the military, Green founded and worked as a CEO of a TN health care company. He also served as a legislator in the TN State Senate (abcnews.com, 12/18, abcnews.com, 5/05/17, Fishel & Kelly, rollcall.com, Pathe, 12/17/18).
Dr. Green’s absurd comments about vaccines and autism is not the first time he has been involved in a public controversy. After Trump’s first nominee for Sec. of the Army withdrew, Donald picked Green for that post in 2017. At that time, Green was running for Governor but dropped out when Trump nominated him (rollcall.com, Pathe, 12/17/17). Green, however, soon withdrew his name for consideration as Army Secretary. After he was nominated, it was disclosed that Dr. Green had a record of bigoted and hateful comments against the LGBTQ community and Muslims. He was accused in a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee by the Civil and Human Rights Coalition of “demeaning Latinos and of denying basic healthcare to women (Fishel &Kelly, abcnews.com, 5/05/17).” This group called him “unfit to serve as Army Secretary (Fishel & Kelly).” In 2016, Dr. Green called it a “great question” when someone at a Tea Party rally asked him about “people who don’t belong here, like Muslims in the United States.” At that same gathering, Green told those present that he “would not stand for children to learn anything about Islam in school. When you start teaching the pillars of Islam…we will not tolerate that in this state (shareblue.com, Martin, D., 12/14/18).” Green, additionally attacked members of the LGBTQ community. He claimed that psychiatrists say “transgender is a disease.” Green’s statements are not backed up by facts. Neither the American Medical Association nor the American Psychiatric Association say that being transgender is a mental disorder (shareblue.com, Martin). The late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told the Washington Post that “there’s a lot of controversy concerning his (Green’s) nomination (shareblue.com).”
When Green withdrew his nomination, he told “The Tennessean” that “my life of public service and my Christian beliefs have been mischaracterized and attacked by a few on the other side for political gain (Fishel & Kelly, abcnews.com, 5/05/17).” In now heavily “Red” TN, Green’s comments and attitudes, however, were no problem for many voters. In 2016, Donald won TN by 26 points (“Vox,” Zhou, 11/07/18) In 2018, when Green ran for the 7th CD to replace GOP Cong. Marsha Blackburn, he clobbered his Democratic rival by 35 points (CQ, 116th Cong. Early Guide). At the same time, Blackburn was trouncing former popular Dem. Gov. Phil Bredesen by 11 points (116th Cong. Early Guide) to take the U.S. Senate seat of retiring GOPer Bob Corker. In ultra-Red TN, Blackburn lost only three counties, none of them in the 7th (CNN Politics).
Members of the freshman GOP class saw no problems in electing provocative Dr. Green as their new standard bearer. Should Green remain in the House, (there is talk that he is interested in running for retiring TN Sen. Lamar Alexander’s seat, roll.com, Pathe, 12/17/18), he is a perfect poster-boy for incoming GOPers, loyal foot soldiers in the party of Donald. Again, this is why all elections, midterm as well as presidential ones, have consequences. Democrats nationwide came out in droves and took back the House. In the House, Dr. Green will, therefore, be irrelevant, not making policy. He and his fellow extremist GOPers must be kept powerless in the House minority.