The latest stunt by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is a toxic brew of bigotry and trolling, and demonstrated how low she’s willing to sink for attention.
On Wednesday, Greene, perhaps best known for her embrace of QAnon conspiracy theories in the years leading up to her winning an unopposed congressional race last November, tweeted a video of herself posting a transphobic sign outside the office of Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL), whose daughter is transgender.
“Our neighbor, @RepMarieNewman, wants to pass the so-called ‘Equality’ Act to destroy women’s rights and religious freedoms. Thought we’d put up ours so she can look at it every time she opens her door,” says a tweet from Greene’s congressional account, above a video of her affixing a sign to a door outside Newman’s office that reads, “There are TWO genders: Male & Female. Trust The Science!”
Greene’s tweet came in retaliation to Newman posting a video of her displaying the transgender flag outside Greene’s office. Here’s the back and forth:
Our neighbor, @RepMarieNewman, wants to pass the so-called "Equality" Act to destroy women’s rights and religious freedoms.— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (@RepMTG) February 24, 2021
Thought we’d put up ours so she can look at it every time she opens her door https://t.co/7joKpTh6Dc pic.twitter.com/aBGRSiIF6X
Greene’s attack on Newman and her family swiftly drew bipartisan condemnation. Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) responded to it with a tweet saying, “This is sad and I’m sorry this happened. Rep. Newmans daughter is transgender, and this video and tweet represent the hate and fame driven politics of self-promotion at all evil costs. This garbage must end, in order to #RestoreOurGOP.” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) noted that Greene’s transphobia is at odds with science finding that sex is not binary and asked, “Why do you want to discriminate against Americans who happen to be transgender?”
Dear @RepMTG: Your sign is incorrect because it’s not what the science says.— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) February 25, 2021
“The science is clear and conclusive: sex is not binary, transgender people are real.” https://t.co/wlSyYOKfbj
Also, why do you want to discriminate against Americans who happen to be transgender? https://t.co/r2VtmYCW9F
Greene’s tweet wasn’t her only attack on Newman on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Greene responded to a video Newman tweeted of herself speaking on the House floor on behalf of the Equality Act (“I’m voting to pass the Equality Act for my daughter — the strongest, bravest person I know,” she wrote) with a tweet from her personal account misgendering Newman’s daughter and saying she “does NOT belong in my daughters’ bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams.”
Newman, for what it’s worth, doesn’t seem shaken by Greene’s antics. During a CNN interview on Wednesday, Newman said she’s “immensely proud of her daughter, and that’s all anyone is asking for — to be treated as anyone else. And that’s what I want Rep. Greene to see.”
"I'm immensely proud of my daughter" -- Rep. Marie Newman on Marjorie Taylor Greene placing an anti-trans placard outside her office door pic.twitter.com/2QYwbh5MAa— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 25, 2021
Greene’s crude opposition to the Equality Act
The backdrop to Greene’s attacks on Newman is the Equality Act, which was reintroduced in the House on Wednesday. The legislation, which President Joe Biden has promised to sign, would amend existing civil rights laws and extend them to all LGBTQ people, overriding laws like ones on the books in the 27 states where transgender people can be denied housing on the basis of their identity.
The legislation is almost certain to pass in the Democratic-controlled House, as it did in 2019. But it faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed — meaning 10 Republicans would have to join all 50 Democrats in voting for it. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who has been known to side with Democrats on social issues, has already said he’ll vote against the Equality Act because of insufficient “religious liberty protections.”
Greene’s opposition is much cruder — she simply denies that trans people exist. But that crudeness is entirely on brand for a member of Congress who illustrates, perhaps better than anyone else, how a faction of the modern Republican Party has devolved into social media trolling that puts marginalized people at risk, opening them up to harassment and possible violent attacks.
Greene lost her committee assignments earlier this month after a string of news reports surfaced about social media posts from 2018 and 2019 where she endorsed political violence against Democrats and was filmed harassing a school shooting survivor, among other outrages. She responded with a news conference in which she said she’s “sorry for saying all those things that are wrong and offensive.” But even then it seemed that apology wasn’t coming from a place of sincerity, coming as it did during a press event where she used white nationalist dog whistles and bashed reporters for asking her straightforward questions about her past social media activity.
Yikes. Marjorie Taylor Greene takes a question from CNN but doesn't even try to answer it. Instead she bashes the reporter who asked. pic.twitter.com/apt9YZzhAS— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 5, 2021
Freed from community assignments, Greene has busied herself with trolling and causing chaos. On Wednesday and Thursday, for instance, she made random motions to adjourn Congress, forcing members to show up on the floor to vote them down and tying things up for about an hour.
On Thursday she did so while wearing a mask that read, “THIS MASK IS AS USELESS AS JOE BIDEN.”
On the House floor, Marjorie Taylor Greene claims she was a "victim" of the January 6 insurrection she encouraged, then adds, "the Equality Act is not about stopping discrimination. It's about causing discrimination against women and religious freedoms." pic.twitter.com/6h7rCrpPxa— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 25, 2021
This might seem like harmless owning of the libs, but it’s not. Rep. Lieu tweeted that the “downside of course is that it’s a waste of time and taxpayers money for us to vote on stupid, nonsensical motions.” Even worse, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) tweeted that Greene’s motion to adjourn on Wednesday forced him to disrupt a classified briefing he was chairing.
“Members had to leave to vote and missed information that can only be shared at that briefing,” he tweeted. “These tantrums have consequences.”
Greene has Trump’s blessing — and that means a lot
While it’s tempting to dismiss Greene and her attention-seeking behavior as fringe, the reality is that she represents an important faction of the Republican Party.
Late last month, as she was under fire for the resurfaced social media posts, Greene boasted of a call she received from former President Donald Trump and tweeted, “I’m so grateful for his support.”
I had a GREAT call with my all time favorite POTUS, President Trump!— Marjorie Taylor Greene (@mtgreenee) January 30, 2021
I’m so grateful for his support and more importantly the people of this country are absolutely 100% loyal to him because he is 100% loyal to the people and America First.
Trump’s endorsement of Greene is important, because it makes it much more difficult politically for House Republicans to distance themselves from her.
Indeed, with the rare exception of Republicans like Kinzinger, prominent Republicans — like House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (LA) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) — have stuck by Greene, defending her with whataboutism, false equivalencies, and baseless insinuations that the social media posts in which she embraced conspiracy theories and violence may have been manipulated. Greene, meanwhile, has continued to be outspoken in her support of Trump, saying things like, “The party is his. It doesn’t belong to anybody else.”
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