Marjorie Taylor Greene pulled one of her old tricks on Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Wednesday: publicly heckling prominent liberals she doesn’t like. As a result, AOC is calling for House leadership to “take real steps to make Congress a safe, civil place for all Members and staff.”
The incident happened Wednesday in full view of Washington Post reporters. The impetus was another demand from Greene—a member of one of the most public-facing deliberative bodies on the planet—that Ocasio-Cortez debate her on the merits of the Green New Deal, a broad package of programs that aim to combat climate change and reorganize the economy in a more equitable fashion.
Greene reportedly yelled “Hey, Alexandria!” at Ocasio-Cortez twice, but when the second-term Democrat tried to ignore Greene, Greene walked faster and began yelling at Ocasio-Cortez that she was a “radical socialist” and asking why she supports Black Lives Matter and antifa, and falsely claimed they were “terrorist groups.” (Ocasio-Cortez has never professed support for antifa, a non-centralized group of antifascist activists.)
“You don’t care about the American people. Why do you support terrorists and antifa?” Greene reportedly shouted at Ocasio-Cortez.
Afterward, Greene told reporters that Ocasio-Cortez was a “chicken.”
“These members are cowards,” Greene said. “They need to defend their legislation to the people. That’s pathetic.”
Ocasio-Cortez didn’t acknowledge Greene, except to turn around at one point and throw “her hands in the air in an exasperated motion,” according to the Washington Post. But afterward, her office told the Post that the incident shows the need to make sure Congress is a safe work environment.
“Representative Greene tried to begin an argument with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, and when Rep. Ocasio-Cortez tried to walk away, Congresswoman Greene began screaming and called Rep. Ocasio-Cortez a terrorist sympathizer,” Ocasio-Cortez spokeswoman Lauren Hitt told the Post in a statement.
“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,” Hitt continued.
“One Member has already been forced to relocate her office due to Congresswoman Greene’s attacks.”
The last sentence is a reference to Rep. Cori Bush, a Ferguson, Missouri, activist who won election to the House last November. In January, after Bush demanded that Greene put on a mask, and Bush said Greene and her staff “berated me in a hallway,” Bush requested a move. Her office was subsequently relocated.
In February, Greene purposely misgendered the trans child of another office neighbor, Rep. Marie Newman, and responded to Newman putting a trans rights flag outside her office by putting a sign up outside her office that said: “There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE.”
Greene later referenced the incident between herself and Ocasio-Cortez in a Wednesday night tweet, again saying Ocasio-Cortez “chickened out” of the debate, as well as calling her a “hate-America terrorist sympathizer” and member of the “#JihadSquad.”
“Members of Congress do NOT support terrorism & shouldn’t be afraid to debate their legislation,” Greene said. Greene was booted off her committees earlier this year after Facebook posts came to light in which—among many other things—she endorsed murdering House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Greene and other Republican members of Congress, along with conservative media, have successfully made Ocasio-Cortez one of the most demonized people in the Democratic Party. And the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 shows the potential for dangerous consequences.
A man arrested in connection with the Capitol riot called for her assassination on social media the same day. And a week after the insurrection, Ocasio-Cortez revealed that she refused to go to a secure location on Jan. 6 because she didn’t trust “QAnon and white supremacist sympathizers” not to “disclose my location and...create opportunities to allow me to be hurt, kidnapped, etc.”
Greene has previously embraced QAnon, though she tried to distance herself from the conspiracy theory in a February floor speech where she compared QAnon to the media.
“So I didn’t feel safe around other members of Congress,” Ocasio-Cortez said at the time. “I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of the day alive.”