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Opinion | White House reporters object to exclusion from Biden events

Opinion | White House reporters object to exclusion from Biden events

When Salon reporter Brian Karem attended the Medal of Honor ceremony that President Biden presided over Tuesday in the East Room of the White House, he hadn’t been in that room in more than a year.

“It should be a big thing for us in this country: How to hold officeholders accountable if we’re not able to question them?” says Karem.

Access to the East Room has become a point of contention between some reporters and White House officials. Last week Karem sent a letter to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre regarding the ability of reporters on the White House campus to attend certain events the president headlines. “The current method of allowing a limited number of reporters into these events is not only restrictive and antithetical to the concept of a free press, but it has been done without any transparent process into how reporters are selected to cover these events,” reads the letter, which was written by Karem and signed by more than 70 journalists, including former ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson.

The restrictions at issue in this case — which originated in the Biden White House, according to three correspondents — aren’t a headline-making monstrosity. They’re a quiet, bureaucratic piece of statecraft that affects an indeterminate number of media outlets. But who is blocked today may be different from who is blocked tomorrow — and since access curbs tend to stick around, it’s a worthwhile fight.

White House access for journalists is a tiered and complicated affair: The Secret Service and White House officials issue security credentials — known as “hard passes” — for press-corps regulars to enter the grounds (“day passes” are available for reporters who only occasionally go to the White House). Those passes, however, don’t guarantee holders entry into every presidential event. The nonprofit White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA), whose mission includes ensuring “robust coverage of the … presidency,” coordinates “pool” coverage — that is, reporting by a small squadron of journalists — for presidential appearances in spaces where the entire White House press corps can’t fit. Frequent locations of pool coverage include the Oval Office and the Roosevelt Room.

Karem is focused on White House events in spaces where all journalists with passes have traditionally been allowed to pile in. Those include the East Room, the State Dining Room, the Cross Room Hall and the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (which has been reconfigured for virtual events and now holds fewer people than in years past). These days, according to White House reporters, Biden officials routinely ask journalists to register to attend presidential appearances in such spaces. White House staff review the requests and deny some. A White House official notes that it has sought to “accommodate as many journalists as possible in a number of different spaces under constantly changing COVID conditions — challenges unlike any other Administration has faced.”

When the events feature a large number of invited guests, says the official, there isn’t room to accommodate every journalist who wishes to attend.

Steven Nelson, a White House correspondent for the New York Post, says he was denied access to registration-required events from November until Friday, when his attendance at an abortion-policy event with the president got the green light — one day after Karem’s letter was sent. One caveat: The New York Post participates in a rotating pool with about 30 other outlets and occasionally gets into events through that mechanism.

“Frankly, that seems pretty inexcusable to me,” says Nelson, who recruited other journalists to sign the letter. “I was surprised at the number of reporters who thanked me and expressed indignation at what’s going on. It seems a lot of people are affected.”

Affected, that is, by a policy they don’t know much about. Both Karem and Nelson say there’s no transparency into decisions on who’s welcome and who’s not. Karem says he’s been denied entry to all but a “mere handful” of the large presidential events on the White House campus since Biden’s inauguration. Like Nelson, Karem has gotten more favorable responses from the White House since sending the letter.

Contesting access at the White House has become something of a side gig for Karem, who’s been on the presidential beat since the Reagan administration and roared into the national spotlight in recent years by shouting down Donald Trump’s press secretaries. After a boisterous encounter with Trumpite Sebastian Gorka at a Rose Garden event in 2019, the White House suspended Karem’s hard pass; he went to court and secured its restoration. In September 2020, he asked Trump if he’d commit to a peaceful transfer of power. “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” the then-president responded.

In any administration, journalists have to double as access lobbyists at the White House. The Obama administration, for instance, routinely barred news photographers from events, only to later release photographs by the official White House photographer. Trump provided White House press with endless opportunities to quiz him on the day’s issues, though his underlings targeted certain reporters for exclusion, including Karem and CNN’s Jim Acosta and Kaitlan Collins.

“You had Donald Trump, who had nothing to say and said it all the time. And you have Biden, who has something to say and he rarely says it,” says Karem, who stresses that access issues affect the entire White House press corps.

Asked about the letter at Tuesday’s briefing, Jean-Pierre said, “We’re coming into a different place of covid — things are starting to open up, we’re even doing tours here. …We understand, we want to be accessible, we want the president, at his events, to be accessible and we are working to that.” She called the matter “a priority of ours.”

The letter to Jean-Pierre acknowledges that social-distancing imperatives “played a role at first,” but the attendance restrictions have outlived the public-health rules. Nelson says that attendance-denial notices from the White House formerly cited covid restrictions but no longer do so. Nowadays, he says, they merely cite space considerations. The White House official says that “there are a lot of considerations — space considerations, covid considerations, sometimes people don’t meet deadlines.”

Although the WHCA commonly presses officials on access problems, the letter doesn’t bear the organization’s imprimatur. WHCA President Steven Portnoy, however, signed it. “We have pressed the point repeatedly privately, and I was happy to co-sign Brian’s letter,” says Portnoy.

Don’t be surprised if the attendance-request system has a long lifespan, considering that wisdom on limiting press access gets handed down from one administration to the next. “We’re worried about the precedent for the future,” says Nelson. “In the next administration, it could be The Washington Post that finds itself essentially blacklisted from presidential events.”

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‘Red, White & Boom’ events in Minneapolis canceled due to weather

'Red, White & Boom' events in Minneapolis canceled due to weather

“Red, White & Boom” events scheduled in Minneapolis to mark the Fourth of July have been canceled due to weather, organizers said Monday.

Meteorologist Matt Serwe says to expect locally heavy rains, with the potential for gusty winds and small hail as thunderstorms move through.

RELATED: Storms likely to affect morning July 4 events

Organizers for the “Red, White & Boom” race, the “TC Kids Sparkler Dash,” and corresponding festival events said the threat of those severe storms forced cancellations.

Organizers said although Twin Cities in Motion has a “no refund” policy, runners who paid for their entry will receive a $10 credit and can expect that credit code in email by July 31.

Runners can pick up their participation shirt and/or medal at the Twin Cities in Motion office, from July 12-15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

“We are disappointed to be unable to host today’s event for you, but safety of participants and volunteers will always be Twin Cities In Motion’s primary concern,” organizers said in a statement.

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Catholic archdiocese apologizes to pride society for blocking White Rock event | CBC News

Catholic archdiocese apologizes to pride society for blocking White Rock event | CBC News

An LGBTQ+ pride society in B.C.’s Lower Mainland has received an apology from local Catholic church authorities, three years after a parish forbade them from hosting an event at a church-owned facility.

In April 2019, the White Rock Pride Society wanted to host a dinner-and-dance event at the Star of the Sea Community Centre in the city, which is located south of Vancouver.

However, the centre was owned by the Star of the Sea Parish. The parish told the society that the rental could not happen, because the pride society does not align with the values of the Catholic Church.

Ernie Klassen, president of the pride society, then filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Three years later, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver — the Catholic authority responsible for the Lower Mainland — has issued an apology to the society, after multiple meetings before the complaint went to tribunal.

“We came up finally with an agreement that we are all really happy with,” Klassen told CBC News. 

“It’s a win-win situation for the pride society as well as for the Catholic Church.”

In the public apology posted on the archdiocese’s website, the church said the meetings and apology were “aimed at repairing the relationship between White Rock Pride and the Parish.”

Ernie Klassen said in 2019 that the parish’s decision not to rent the hall to his organization for a pride event is discriminatory. He has now received an apology from the Vancouver archdiocese. (Nic Amaya/CBC)

“We acknowledge that these actions have resulted in increased divisiveness between our faith community and the LGBTQ2+ community, as well as with the individuals, including friends and family members, who support them,” the apology reads.

Klassen said the church committed to changing its policies to see how they can become more welcoming toward the LGBTQ+ community.

With regard to renting event space, he said local churches would have to now go through the archdiocese if the pride society requested a church-owned space.

Star of the Sea Community Centre in White Rock is owned by the local parish, Star of the Sea Parish. The parish now has to go through the archdiocese if they receive a rental request from the pride society. (Nic Amaya/CBC)

“We had a lot of members of the Catholic Church who reached out to us and thanked us for our work, to address the fact that the LGBTQ community did not feel welcome within the Catholic Church,” Klassen said.

He said he hopes B.C. churches have positive interactions with the LGBTQ+ community at the grassroots level going forward.

James Borkowski, delegate for operations at the Vancouver archdiocese, said he gives Klassen a lot of credit for being open with the church after he filed the complaint.

“In order to love better and to be a more welcoming church, sometimes we have to start with an apology for the times that we have not loved,” he said.

“As soon as we started that process, we found that we had a lot in common. We both agreed that this could be resolved much more amicably and even fruitfully through building the relationship — as opposed to spending more time with lawyers.”

Borkowski said he also hopes that the Catholic Church is more accepting of LGBTQ+ people going forward, and that they “emphasize the humanity” of those who wish to enter a dialogue with them.

As for the pride society, they said they would celebrate the announcement and organize more pride events going into July.

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How Pride events nationally are responding after a White supremacist group allegedly planned to riot in Idaho

How Pride events nationally are responding after a White supremacist group allegedly planned to riot in Idaho
Pride Month is a time when the LGBTQ community and its allies come together to celebrate the freedom to be their most authentic selves. But on Saturday, 31 men believed to be linked to a White nationalist group allegedly attempted to rob the community in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, of that experience.
Over two dozen men were arrested after an alarmed 911 caller reported a group dressed like a “little army” getting into a moving truck. The group was headed to a Pride in the Park event at Coeur d’Alene City Park and had plans to riot, police said.

When Debra Porta, executive director of Pride Northwest Inc., heard about what happened in Idaho, she felt “disappointment that we still face this kind of thing and reminded that our communities are stronger together than they are apart,” she told CNN in a statement.

Porta has been volunteering with Pride Northwest since 2006 and said safety has always been a top priority at the annual event and this year is no different.

Their security strategy entails a combination of local law enforcement, private security, de-escalation teams and infrastructure support from several local jurisdictions, she said. Portland Pride Waterfront Festival in Oregon is scheduled for this weekend.

Over 2,000 miles away, Chicago will also be celebrating this weekend and David O’Neal Brown, Chicago’s superintendent of police, said during a Monday news conference he wanted “to put those who might be planning something on notice that we are going to be vigilant to ensure that this event, as well as others, go off safely.”

Threats to the city’s celebrations will not be tolerated, Brown said.

It's Pride Month. Here's what you need to know

In San Francisco, the city’s Pride parade is scheduled for June 26.

“This week marks six years since the Pulse tragedy, and we commemorate the loss of so many lives taken from us, Carolyn Wysinger, board president of San Francisco Pride told CNN in a statement. Forty-nine people were killed at the gay nightclub in Orlando by an American-born man who’d pledged allegiance to ISIS.

“We have always been vigilant when it comes to safety and are working on a very coordinated basis with local law enforcement, city and community leaders to ensure this year’s Pride is safe and people can enjoy themselves knowing we are taking every precaution possible,” Wysinger said.

It’s not just bigger cities giving their security measures a second look. Oklahomans for Equality, the organizers of Tulsa Pride, said it had increased security measures following a mass shooting at a Tulsa hospital this month.

“We have heightened our security measures with bag checks at every entrance, increased security personnel throughout the festival grounds, and, as always, no weapons will be allowed at Tulsa Pride,” Alex Wade, deputy director of Oklahomans for Equality, said in a Monday statement. “We ask that festivalgoers not engage with antagonistic protestors. Proving a point is not worth risking your safety.”

Anatomy of a Pride parade

His message for attendees: Stay together, stay safe, go with someone you trust and remain alert.

At a time where many communities are ramping up their safety protocols, organizers in New York City said they’re not making any changes to protocols or event schedules as a result of the incident in Idaho.

Last month, NYC Pride announced a new set of policies around safety, wellness, accessibility, sustainability and efforts to reinforce its commitment to ensuring the safety of festivalgoers, the organization said. “Based on our existing safety plans we are not making any changes in response to this particular incident,” NYC Pride spokesperson Dan Dimant told CNN in a statement.
In 2021, NYC Pride and Denver Pride publicly banned corrections and law enforcement exhibitors from marching and participating in their uniforms. Similarly in San Francisco, organizers originally decided May 11 that off-duty police officers who march in the June 26 parade wouldn’t be allowed to wear their uniforms. Organizers have amended that policy to say all first responders will march in one contingent, with command staff wearing their mandated uniforms and a small number of LGBTQ officers in uniform will provide security for the contingent, according to a statement. All of these officers will be on-duty, a spokesperson for the organizations said.
Banning uniformed officers at Pride sparks fresh debate over complex issue
Participation by uniformed law enforcement at Pride events can seem threatening or dangerous to an LGBTQ+ community that over decades has been targeted with excessive force, even if their presence is intended to foster a sense of community and safety, advocacy groups have said.

Additionally, NYC Pride staff and executive board go through active shooter training annually, he said.

Mirroring San Francisco’s plan to work closely with law enforcement, organizers from Denver PrideFest and Seattle Pride say they are doing the same for their celebrations scheduled for the end of the month.

After two years of postponed Denver PrideFest events due to the pandemic, the organization said it’s excited for this year’s festivities.

As a direct result of what happened in Idaho, the Seattle Police Department and Iron Oak Security, Seattle Pride’s privately contracted security company, will increase the number of Seattle police officers at the parade to a “couple hundred” in addition to roughly 80 Iron Oaks officers, Krystal Marx, the executive director of Seattle Pride, told CNN.

CNN’s Jennifer Henderson, Jarrod Wardwell and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.

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Members of white nationalist group arrested near Pride event in U.S., charged with conspiracy to riot | CBC News

Members of white nationalist group arrested near Pride event in U.S., charged with conspiracy to riot | CBC News

Authorities arrested 31 members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front near a Pride event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on Saturday after they were found packed into the back of a U-Haul truck with riot gear.

The men were standing inside the truck wearing khakis, navy blue shirts and beige hats with white balaclavas covering their faces when Coeur d’Alene police stopped the U-Haul and began arresting them on the side of the road.

“They came to riot downtown,” Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said at a news conference.

All 31 were charged with conspiracy to riot, a misdemeanor, White said. The men were going through the booking process Saturday afternoon and are scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, he said.

Based on evidence collected and documents, authorities found that the group was planning to riot in several areas of downtown, not just the park, White said.

The men were standing inside the truck wearing khakis, navy blue shirts and beige hats with white balaclavas covering their faces when Coeur d’Alene police stopped the U-Haul and began arresting them on the side of the road. (North Country Off Grid/Youtube/Reuters)

Police found riot gear, one smoke grenade, shin guards and shields inside the van, White said. They wore arm patches and logos on their hats that identified them as members of Patriot Front, he said.

Police learned about the U-Haul from a tipster, who reported that “it looked like a little army was loading up into the vehicle” in the parking lot of a hotel, White said. Officials spotted the truck soon after and pulled it over, he said.

Videos of the arrest posted on social media show the men kneeling on the grass with their hands zip-tied behind their backs.

“Reclaim America” was written on the back of one shirt.

Police led the men, one by one, to the front of patrol cars, took off their masks and then brought them to a police van.

The truck was stopped near where the North Idaho Pride Alliance was holding the Coeur d’Alene Pride in the Park event. Police said they learned about the U-Haul from a tipster. (North Country Off Grid/Youtube/Reuters)

Those arrested came from at least 11 states, including Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia, and Arkansas, White said.

Only one was from Idaho, he said. Coeur d’Alene is located about 30 kilometres east of Idaho’s western border with Washington.

The truck was stopped near where the North Idaho Pride Alliance was holding the Coeur d’Alene Pride in the Park event. Police had stepped up their presence in the area during the event.

Police led the men, one by one, to the front of patrol cars, took off their masks and then brought them to a police van. (North Country Off Grid/Youtube/Reuters)

“It appears these people did not come here to engage in peaceful events,” Kootenai County Sheriff Bob Norris told a Coeur d’Alene Press reporter.

Patriot Front is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “a white nationalist hate group” that formed after the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.

“Patriot Front focuses on theatrical rhetoric and activism that can be easily distributed as propaganda for its chapters across the country,” the Southern Poverty Law Center said of the group.

The group’s manifesto calls for the formation of a white ethnostate in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center said.

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White Supremacists From Patriot Front Detained En Masse Near Idaho Pride Event

White Supremacists From Patriot Front Detained En Masse Near Idaho Pride Event

Dozens of masked members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front were arrested late Saturday as they prepared to stage a riot near a Pride event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, authorities say.

Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White told reporters that 31 individuals affiliated with the group were in police custody and charged with conspiracy to riot.

The group had traveled from all over the country to sow chaos during the LGBT+ event, White said. They came from states like Texas, Utah, South Dakota, Arkansas, Oregon, and Virginia. Law enforcement was quick to derail the group’s plans, he said, thanks to “one concerned citizen.”

“We received a telephone call from a concerned citizen who reported that approximately 20 people jumped into a U-Haul wearing masks, they had shields, and ‘looked like a little army,’” he said.

“They had shields, shin guards, and other riot gear with them, including at least one smoke grenade,” White said, adding that paperwork including an apparent “operations plan” had also been found in the group’s U-Haul. It was not immediately clear if they had any firearms.

Video from the scene of their arrest showed several members of the group kneeling in the grass, their hands zip-tied behind their backs, as counter-protesters jeered and shouted “losers!”

Approximately 20 members of the group, all clad in their trademark balaclavas, blue shirts and khakis, could be seen kneeling as police officers stood around them. Local reports said members of the group were unmasked before being placed in police vans.

One video purportedly filmed at the scene showed a cop telling onlookers the group had been detained thanks to “informants in their chats,” but the police chief disputed that at an evening press conference, saying law enforcement was tipped off only by “one concerned citizen.”

“It appears they did not come here to engage in peaceful events,” Kootenai County Sheriff Bob Norris was quoted telling Coeur d’Alene Press.

Patriot Front didn’t immediately return a request for comment from The Daily Beast on Saturday evening.

Patriot Front is a white supremacist, neo-fascist group that likes to travel inconspicuously: in U-Haul trucks. Police reportedly stopped the group’s U-Haul on Saturday a short distance from the “Pride in the Park” event, which had already been the target of a counterprotest by a conservative motorcycle club called the Panhandle Patriots. That group had announced that they would go “head-to-head” with attendees of the Pride event and host their own event called “Gun d’Alene.”

White said law enforcement had received information ahead of the Pride event about “a number of groups planning to disrupt today’s activities.”

The event was one of the largest Pride in the Park events in its six-year history, North Idaho Pride Alliance told KXLY. Despite growing tension and backlash, several attendees said it was their first Pride because of COVID-19. One couple even got engaged at the park before the chaos ensued.

— Zachary Petrizzo contributed reporting

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Reuters Events White Paper: The Foundation for Next-Gen Connected Cars

Reuters Events White Paper: The Foundation for Next-Gen Connected Cars

Article content

London, United Kingdom–(Newsfile Corp. – April 11, 2022) – The right connectivity is crucial not only for the safety and the operation of the vehicle, but also for enhanced applications that will be updated on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. The decisions OEMs make today will affect their ability to deliver on regulatory requirements for safety and consumer demand for exciting new experiences.

Article content

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Download your complimentary copy here.

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Access insights on these core topics:

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Download your free copy of the whitepaper here.

Brenda Staines
Senior Project Director
Reuters Events

Telephone: [+44] (0) 207 513 8969

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To view the source version of this press release, please visit


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Obama to make first public White House appearance since 2017 at health care event – National |

Obama to make first public White House appearance since 2017 at health care event - National |

Former President Barack Obama will be returning to the White House on Tuesday for his first public event there since he left office in 2017.

A White House official said Sunday that Obama will be joining President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to “deliver remarks celebrating the success of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid in extending affordable health insurance to millions of Americans.”

The event is part of Biden’s effort to turn his focus to pocketbook issues that directly affect American households. While job growth has been steady since he took office, inflation is at its worst level in a generation.

The White House said Biden “will take additional action to further strengthen the ACA and save families hundreds of dollars a month on their health care.”

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Health Secretary Xavier Becerra and other members of Biden’s Cabinet will attend Tuesday’s event.

Obama’s visit to the White House was first reported by NBC News.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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GOP leaders condemn Greene, Gosar for attending white nationalist event

GOP leaders condemn Greene, Gosar for attending white nationalist event

Days after GOP Reps. Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene appeared at an event organized by a white nationalist, Republican party leaders are condemning them for attending.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement Monday criticizing white supremacist hate.

“There’s no place in the Republican Party for white supremacists or anti-Semitism,” McConnell said in a statement first reported by Politico.

Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters Monday afternoon that he found Greene and Gosar’s attendance “unacceptable.”

McCarthy suggested to reporters that he plans to speak with both Gosar and Greene later this week.

“To me, it was appalling and wrong,” McCarthy told reporters. “There’s no place in our party for any of this.”

“The party should not be associated any time any place with somebody who is anti-Semitic…This is unacceptable,” he added.

McCarthy was in Israel last week with a congressional delegation. He told Punchbowl News that the news of Greene and Gosar’s attendance was particularly upsetting because of his recent visit.

Greene and Gosar have both previously been stripped of their committee assignments for their egregious behavior.

McCarthy, however, has previously said he would restore their assignments if Republicans take back the House in November.

McCarthy told CNN and another reporter outside his office that even though Greene claimed not to know who the event organizer was “with that introduction, you should have walked off stage.”

Shortly before introducing Greene, Nick Fuentes, the white nationalist who organized the event, led participants in applause for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and chanted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s name.

Republican Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, when asked about Greene’s behavior Monday, also condemned the event but stopped short of condemning her members.

“White supremacy. Neo Nazism, hate speech, and bigotry are disgusting. They have no place or home and our party.”

McDaniel didn’t say whether the party would take any further action against its members, such as censuring them. Instead, she said she “would let the process play out” and see if any members brought any censures forward at a party meeting in August.

The criticism follows recent comments by former President Donald Trump, who continues to praise Putin. During an interview with the conservative radio show “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” on Tuesday, Trump labeled Putin’s tactics “genius” and “savvy.” Trump ultimately slammed the invasion on Saturday night at the Conservative Political Action Conference but called Putin “smart.”

Greene and Gosar’s appearance at the conference Friday night is now renewing calls for them to be reprimanded by fellow Republicans in Congress.

“In any other world, Greene speaking at a white supremacist conference where attendees have defended Vladimir Putin and praised Adolf Hitler would warrant expulsion from the caucus, to say nothing of her advocacy for violence and consistent anti-Semitism is disgusting,” Democratic National Committee spokesperson Ammar Moussa said.

Greene, however, has doubled down on her appearance.

“I won’t cancel others in the conservative movement, even if I find some of their statements tasteless, misguided or even repulsive at times. I encourage them to seek wisdom, and apologize to those who have been hurt by their words, as I’ve had to do,” she said. “Our faith calls for charity and forgiveness.”

“We’re not going to be deterred by journalists and Washington insiders who fear the name of Our Lord, and relentlessly attack those of us who proclaim His name. We know that Christ is our only judge,” she added.

Over the weekend, in addition to claiming she didn’t know who Fuentes was, Greene said she went to the event to reach his young audience and to discuss “American First” policies.

Last month, Fuentes was subpoenaed by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

ABC News’ Mariam Khan contributed to this report.