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‘This is a woman that’s deeply unwell’: A brief history of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s vendetta against AOC

·6-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Far-right US Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene has repeatedly antagonised Democratic lawmakers, from pledging to “kick that b****” Nancy Pelosi out of Congress to calling the elections of Muslim congresswomen “an Islamic invasion” – all before she was elected to office.

The Georgia congresswoman – who embraced Pizzagate and QAnon rhetoric before her election in 2020 – sought to impeach Joe Biden on his first day in office and, on her first day on the floor of the House of Representatives, wore a face mask reading “Trump won.”

But perhaps no other lawmaker has been on the receiving end of her rage more than US Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, held up by Ms Greene, right-wing media and former president Donald Trump and his allies as a socialist nemesis in their grievance-filled culture wars.

On 22 February 2019, Ms Greene – then a right-wing “activist” – posted a since-deleted Facebook Live video of her speaking through the mail slot outside AOC’s office, telling her to “get rid of your diaper.”

“I’m an American citizen, I pay your salary through the taxes that you collect for me through the IRS because I’m a taxpaying citizen of the United States,” Ms Greene says in the video. “So you need to stop being a baby and stop locking your door and come out and face the American citizens that you serve … If you want to be a big girl, you need to get rid of your diaper and come out and be able to talk to the American citizens instead of having to use a flap, a little flap. Sad.”

That day, she also brought a petition to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office to impeach the California Democrat for “treason”. In since-removed social media posts from 2018 and 2019, Ms Greene appeared to endorse the killings of Ms Pelosi and prominent Democrats, as well as “false flag” conspiracies involving school shootings and the 9/11 terror attacks.

She also moderated a far-right Facebook page that became a forum for death threats and conspiracies.

A month after her primary victory, Ms Greene posted a photo on Facebook showing her posing with a rifle next to photos of AOC and congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar with the words “squad’s worst nightmare”. The post was shared hundreds of times before it was removed.

Following the Capitol insurrection on 6 January, fuelled by a false election fraud narrative supported by Ms Greene, she said she condemns “ALL violence” but accused AOC and Democrats of being “accomplices” to “Antifa/BLM terrorism.”

“Those who stoke insurrection [and] spread conspiracies have blood on their hands,” said Ms Greene, apparently referring to Democrats and not the Republican lawmakers who sympathised with rioters and amplified baseless election conspiracy theories. “They must be expelled.”

In February, Ms Greene’s resurfaced Facebook posts and videos prompted House lawmakers to vote to strip her from her committee assignments.

Before the vote, she sent a fundraising email to supporters in which she falsely claimed that AOC told demonstrators to “punch a cop” and that the vote on her removal was “because I dared to stand up for you instead of the DC elites”.

In recent weeks, the Georgia lawmaker has obsessed over a “debate” between her and the New York congresswoman over the Green New Deal, a congressional resolution that would provide a guiding framework for the US to tackle the climate crisis.

After she approached Ms Ocasio-Cortez on the House floor, she announced on Twitter that she would “schedule time” to debate after reading “all 14 pages” of the resolution, which she called a “Communists manifesto”.

She also called AOC a “a scared little girl that is pretty stupid” as well as a “a chicken” for refusing to debate her.

This week, Ms Greene’s antics escalated once again.

On 12 May, two reporters from The Washington Post observed Ms Greene shouting for AOC’s attention outside the House chamber and accusing her of supporting “terrorists and antifa”.

“You don’t care about the American people,” she shouted.

“She’s a chicken, she doesn’t want to debate the Green New Deal,” she told reporters and onlookers. “These members are cowards. They need to defend their legislation to the people. That’s pathetic.”

“We hope leadership and the Sergeant at Arms will take real steps to make Congress a safe, civil place for all Members and staff – especially as many offices are discussing reopening,” AOC spokesperson Lauren Hitt said in a statement following the harassment from Ms Greene.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez, a former bartender in New York City, relied on her earlier experience in a retort to Ms. Greene.

“These are the kinds of people that I threw out of bars all the time,” said Ms Ocasio-Cortez.

Speaker Pelosi and House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries have also called for a House Ethics Committee investigation into Ms Greene’s behaviour.

Ms Pelosi called Ms Greene’s harassment “egregious”.

“This is beneath the dignity of a person serving in the Congress,” the House speaker said.

Republican US Rep Adam Kinzinger also said that the House “was created to debate emotional issues professionally, and it seems some just want attention or cannot handle their emotions.”

In response, Ms Greene mocked the Iraq War veteran as “little Adam”.

“I asked @AOC to debate me … in the chamber, to debate her destructive socialist policies. But Sandy doesn’t know how to work with Republicans. Neither do you,” she said on Twitter.

Ms Greene also mocked AOC for raising safety concerns after the incident, calling her “a fraud [and] a hypocrite” who lacks “the courage [and] intelligence” to debate her.

She then called AOC and Reps Omar and Tlaib the “#JihadSquad.”

After CNN published resurfaced footage from Ms Greene’s February 2019 visit to AOC’s office, AOC said on Twitter on Friday: “The fact that Kevin McCarthy, the House [Republican Minority Leader], stripped Justin Amash of all committee seats for criticizing Trump, but has worked to protect this person from consequences (including pretending he doesn’t see it) tells you this is happening with the support of GOP leadership.”

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Asked on the steps of the Capitol later on Friday about Ms Greene’s comments, the New York congresswoman said: “This is a woman that’s deeply unwell and clearly needs some help.”

“Her kind of fixation has lasted for several years now. At this point, I think, the depth of that unwellness has raised concerns for other members, as well,” she said. “This is an assessment that needs to be made by proper professionals.”

Asked about Ms Greene’s insistence on a “debate” between the two women, Ms Ocasio-Cortez said: “She does keep discussing this but it’s not a thing. I’m concerned about her perceptions of reality.”

In an interview outside the Capitol on Friday, Ms Greene accused Democrats of being the “party of aggression and violence”.

“There’s nothing wrong with me pushing things out there, asking questions, pushing for debate – that’s exactly what I should be doing,” she said.

Asked directly whether she believes Mr Biden is the legitimate winner of the 2020 presidential election, she said: “I have a lot of questions about the election and there’s nothing wrong with asking questions.”

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