Today in political theater gone wrong, we have performance artist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. On Wednesday, during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing, Greene went too far with her vitriol even for Republicans when she impugned Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by calling him “a liar.”
Greene’s five-minute tirade began against both China and Rep. Eric Swalwell, the latter whom she slandered by claiming he had a “sexual relationship with a Chinese spy—and everyone knows it.” Democratic Rep. Daniel Goldman of New York moved to have Greene’s words taken down. But after the Republicans on the committee voted to table the motion, Greene continued on. And she did not stop being offensive for the full five minutes.
The tirade ended with her being muzzled for the remainder of the hearing.
RELATED STORY: MTG offers up ludicrous series of questions with fake 'facts' during committee hearing
When she finally got around to (sort of) asking Mayorkas a question, it came in a high-octane run of, “Where China is poisoning America’s children, poisoning our teenagers, poisoning our young people, how long are you going to let this go on?” Mayorkas attempted to answer, saying that nobody was “letting this go on,” when Greene interrupted him, saying, “No! I reclaim my time! You’re a liar!”
Greene’s bile, the concentration of everything the Republican Party stands for at this point, is a whole lot harder to take when meeting in the more intimate space of a committee hearing. Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi immediately moved to have Greene’s words “taken down.”
At this point the Republican chairman of the committee, Mark Green, made his ruling:
“It’s pretty clear that the rules state that you cannot impugn someone’s character. Identifying or calling someone a liar is unacceptable in this committee; and I make the ruling that we strike those words.”
Now, this is where it became a special kind of awesome. Goldman asked if the ruling was the one that Thompson asked for: to have the words “taken down,” versus having them “stricken” from the record. The distinction is an important one because having the words “taken down” also means the speaker—in this case the Tasmanian devil from Georgia—would no longer be recognized in the hearing.
Possibly realizing she was about to be shut down completely, Greene attempted one of her patented make-believe moves, saying, “Point of personal inquiry,” to which Goldman responded, “There’s no such thing.” Teehee.
The fact that Greene’s existence in all settings is a waste of space is nothing new. But in this circumstance she not only effectively nullified her entire political theater performance, she nullified her party’s own usual political theater performances by forcing them to punish her instead of spending their time blaming President Joe Biden for fentanyl.
After a moment of conferring, Green broke the news that her words would be struck from the public record and “the gentlelady is no longer recognized.” The Republicans then decided the only win they could get was to say that Greene’s pretty slanderous attack on Swalwell didn’t break the rules.
Goldman gave a clear response to that, saying out loud that Greene’s statement was “bullshit.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene's chief of staff freaks out after being fact-checked
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's committee debut was exactly as disgraceful as expected
America could learn a lot from how other countries elect their leaders! Political science professor Matthew Shugart joins us on this week's episode of The Downballot to explain how a variety of electoral systems around the world operate, as well as his thoughts on which might work well here—and actually improve our democracy. Shugart gets into the weeds on proportional voting, single transferable vote, "decoy lists," and much more. If those terms are new to you, you'll definitely want to listen!