The far-right Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene told reporters being called a white supremacist was the same as a Black person being called the N-word.
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Speaking on Thursday about a confrontation outside the Capitol the day before with the Democratic congressman Jamaal Bowman, Greene said: “Jamaal Bowman [was] shouting at the top of his lungs, cursing, calling me a horrible … calling me a white supremacist which I take great offense to that.
“It’s like calling a person of color the N-word which should never happen. Calling me a white supremacist is equal to that. That is wrong.”
Greene, a Trump supporter from Georgia, has achieved viral fame – in large part by voicing baseless conspiracy theories, addressing white supremacists, making bigoted statements and harassing opponents – which she has used to secure influence in the Republican caucus.
In a Congress as bitterly divided as the country at large, Bowman, a progressive from New York, has made headlines by confronting far-right Republicans.
The verbal tussle on Wednesday came after House Republicans deflected a Democratic motion to expel the federally indicted New York representative George Santos. As Santos spoke to reporters, Bowman called out that he should resign.
Greene then squared off with Bowman, each talking over the other before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another New York progressive, told Bowman: “She ain’t worth it, bro.”
Footage spread swiftly on social media.
At the Capitol on Thursday, Greene said: “He was the one that approached me.”
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She also claimed Bowman was “yelling, shouting, raising his voice, he was aggressive. His physical mannerisms are aggressive … There’s a lot of concern about Jamaal Bowman, so I am concerned, I feel threatened by him.”
In a statement after the incident, Bowman said video showed that Greene’s characterization of the confrontation was an “utter and blatant lie” that fell into the “long tradition … of Black men who are passionate, outspoken, or who stand their ground, being characterized as ‘threatening’ or ‘intimidating.’”
“Marjorie’s attack is beyond a dog-whistle. It’s a bull-horn. And it’s reckless and dangerous. She has put a target on my back,” he said. “The truth of the matter is that we had a light back-and-forth on the steps of Capitol Hill, surrounded by reporters and staff.”
Greene, a dedicated far-right firebrand, also claimed to be above partisan politics, because members of Congress should “care about the country … no matter what our political beliefs are”.
At the same press conference, Greene announced that she had filed articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden; the US attorney general, Merrick Garland; the secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas; Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI; and Matthew Graves, US attorney for the District of Columbia.