Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is at the centre of yet another controversy in the United States today after hanging a “sickening” sign outside the office of a Democratic colleague.
Ms Greene, a far-right conspiracy theorist, was elected to represent Georgia’s 14th congressional district last year. Since then, she has become an increasingly prominent voice within the Republican Party, gaining attention for her extreme views.
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives recently voted to strip Ms Greene of her committee assignments due to those views, including: her past support for QAnon, which believes a cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles secretly controls the world; her belief that mass shootings were staged by the government to build support for gun control measures; her claim there was never “any evidence” that a plane hit the Pentagon on 9/11; and her support for executing high profile Democrats.
After being removed from both the Budget Committee and the Education and Labour Committee, Ms Greene and many of her Republican colleagues argued she was a victim of “cancel culture”.
Anyway, Ms Greene has been in something of a spat with Democratic Congresswoman Marie Newman in recent days.
Ms Newman is a prominent supporter of the Equality Act, proposed legislation which would outlaw discrimination against people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. The Congresswoman’s daughter, Evie, is transgender.
Republicans argue the bill would force religious organisations to violate their beliefs.
On Tuesday, Ms Newman delivered a speech on the floor of the House explaining her support for the legislation.
“I rise today on behalf of the millions of Americans who continue to be denied housing, education, public services and much, much more because they identify as members of the LGBTQ community,” she said.
“Americans like my own daughter, who years ago, bravely came out to her parents as transgender. I knew from that day on my daughter would be living in a nation where, in most of its states, she could be discriminated against merely because of who she is.
“And yet, it was still the happiest day of my life, and my daughter has found her authentic self. As any mother would, I swore that I would fight to ensure this country changes for the better.
“Without the Equality Act, this nation will never live up to its principles of freedom and equality. The right time to pass this act was decades ago. The second-best time is now.
“I’m voting yes on the Equality Act for Evie Newman, my daughter, and the strongest, bravest person I know.”
Her voice wavered with emotion as she delivered that last line.
Ms Greene made a motion to adjourn the House in an attempt to stop it from considering the bill, saying it would give members of Congress a chance to “rethink destroying women’s rights, women’s sport and religious freedom”.
That motion failed, and the Equality Act is almost certain to pass in the House.
It actually got passed in the last Congress as well, but the Republican-controlled Senate never took it up, meaning the bill expired and never became law. Then-president Donald Trump would have vetoed it anyway.
Now, the House must pass the Equality Act again before it can reach the Senate. This time, President Joe Biden supports the bill, but the numbers are still unlikely to be there in the Senate, which is split 50/50 between Republicans and Democrats.
Back to Ms Newman and Ms Greene. The two politicians share a hallway in Congress – their offices are directly opposite one another.
Following Ms Greene’s attempt to foil the Equality Act, Ms Newman put up a transgender flag in the hallway, saying Ms Greene “can look at it every time she opens her door”.
Ms Greene retaliated yesterday by putting up a sign reading: “There are TWO genders: MALE and FEMALE. Trust the Science!”
“Thought we’d put up ours so she can look at it every time she opens her door,” she said, echoing Ms Newman’s words.
In another tweet, Ms Greene reacted to footage of Ms Newman’s speech. She referred to Ms Newman’s daughter as her “biological son”.
“As mothers, we all love and support our children. But your biological son does NOT belong in my daughters’ bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams,” Ms Greene said.
Ms Newman went on television this morning to talk about Ms Greene’s sign, and her own decision to put up the transgender flag.
“I just wanted to make a statement so that she sees LGBTQ+ people. And so, the symbolism was simply to put the flag out there so she has to see our community every day,” she told the CNN morning show New Day.
“I’m immensely proud of my daughter, and that’s all anyone is asking for, is to be treated as anyone else. And that’s what I want Representative Greene to see.”
Ms Newman said Ms Greene was “welcome” to put up her “goofy” sign and she had “no interest” in engaging in a “tit-for-tat”.
“Several Republican colleagues have reached out to me to express their concern over her hateful comments. And so this was a bipartisan reaction to her nastiness, her disrespect and her, quite frankly, loose touch with reality,” she said.
“So here’s what I would say, is that I made my statement. I feel good she is seeing that flag every day and seeing LGBTQ folks.
“Whatever she chooses to do going forward, it was never meant to be a tit-for-tat or a game or anything. I just needed to make that statement to her.”
Some members of Congress have publicly rebuked Ms Greene. One of them is her Republican colleague Adam Kinzinger.
“This is sad and I’m sorry this happened,” said Mr Kinzinger, who has been heavily critical of Ms Greene and her various conspiracy theories since she arrived in Congress.
Mr Kinzinger was also one of only 10 House Republicans to support Donald Trump’s second impeachment.
“Representative Newman’s daughter is transgender, and this video and tweet represents the hate and fame-driven politics of self-promotion at all evil costs,” he said.
“This garbage must end in order to restore our Republican Party.”
Democratic Congressman Sean Casten called Ms Greene’s sign “sickening, pathetic” and “unimaginably cruel”.
“This hate is exactly why the Equality Act is necessary and what we must protect Marie Newman’s daughter, and all our LGBTQ+ loved ones, against.”