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Good Trouble: A Sitdown with Marjorie Taylor Greene

“I was told, ‘Marjorie, when you get to D.C., they are going to come down on you. It’s going to be like hot fire raining down on you.’”

Former President Trump Holds Rally In Warren, Michigan

When Marjorie Taylor Greene entered office in January 2021, she was a relatively little known member of the House of Representatives. That was until Media Matters, a progressive media machine notorious for its shoddy but shameless tactics, published a story on January 31, 2021, about a no longer available Facebook post dated November 17, 2018.

The post, which Greene said at the time was pure “speculation,” claimed that the massive Northern California Camp Fire earlier that month could have been caused by a space solar generator that misfired, linking then California governor Jerry Brown, PG&E, and Rothschild Inc. vice chairman Roger Kimmel, who sits on PG&E’s board, to the fire.

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“If they are beaming the suns [sic] energy back to Earth, I’m sure they wouldn’t ever miss a transmitter receiving station right??!! I mean mistakes are never made when anything new is invented. What would that look like anyway? A laser beam or light beam coming down to Earth I guess. Could that cause a fire? Hmmm, I don’t know. I hope not! That wouldn’t look so good for PG&E, Rothschild Inc, Solaren or Jerry Brown who sure does seem fond of PG&E,” the post read in part.

After House Republican leadership refused to censure Greene themselves, Speaker Nancy Pelosi went forward with a vote to strip Greene of her committee assignments, ostensibly over stories like Media Matters’s about Greene’s old Facebook posts. But Greene has another theory.

I made my way to the Longworth Office Building, passing Hill staffers and the occasional member. Shortly after my arrival, a young woman came out to receive me. With Covid-19 almost three years in the rearview mirror, guests of congressional offices still have to be retrieved by interns or staffers. In the before times, folks visiting the Capitol complex on business or pleasure could walk right in after going through a metal detector.

We made the walk to Congresswoman Greene’s office, easily recognizable from far down the hall. Hundreds of letters from constituents and fans surround the main office entrance, from the floor to the ceiling and ten feet to the left and right. Next to the main office entrance and the American flag is a large poster board that Greene put up in response to her neighbor, Democratic Illinois Rep. Marie Newman, who displayed a giant transgender flag during pride month. It reads, “There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE ‘Trust The Science!’” On the other side is a posterboard of Vice President Kamala Harris’s infamous tweet promoting the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a bail fund used to free Summer of Love rioters, domestic abusers, and sexual predators. An easel holds another poster board of the Gadsden flag.

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Once inside, I noticed that the letters posted outside the office were just a few of the pieces of fan mail Greene and her staff had put up. The office foyer was somewhat small, cramped with desks for schedulers and interns, as well as chairs for guests to sit in while they waited for a moment of the congresswoman’s time. The entire right wall was plastered with letters. So, too, was the back wall that demarcated the foyer from more office space. Between the letters on the back wall, black construction paper letters read “PEOPLE OVER POLITICIANS.” Underneath, a map of Georgia’s 14th Congressional District stood on a small console table. All this gives the office a schoolhouse feel. The congresswoman’s proponents probably think it a youthful, joyful place. Her detractors may think it unserious.

I got up from my chair and started to examine the hand-written letters. Some are longer, more elaborate; others, very concise: “Thank you for standing with President Trump!” At least seven cards just say “#TrumpWon.” Most of the more elaborate cards are laden with bubbly stickers of cherry blossom flowers and Washington’s iconic monuments, filled with refined but shaky penmanship, signed by Barbaras, Margarets, and Bettys.

I’m ushered into Greene’s office by one of her staff members. She stands in front of a couch with a black and gray plaid dress and boots that go to just below her knee. She gives a wide smile, one you can’t help but return in kind. Once she takes her seat, I notice the gallery wall behind her. Photos of her running up the Capitol steps, speaking at rallies, talking to voters on the trail, and what I presume to be her family, cover the wall. In the center is a photo of her and President Donald Trump.

Greene launches into her theory of what really was behind Pelosi’s effort to get her kicked off her assigned congressional committees. And it wasn’t because of a few old Facebook posts. At the time, Greene was fighting not only the adjustment to Congress but serious family trauma.

“January 3, I got sworn in. January 6 happened, which was shocking and awful,” Greene recounted. “On January 11, my dad had his second surgery to remove cancerous brain tumors, and I had to fly up here to vote no on impeachment because Nancy Pelosi was impeaching President Trump.” Greene’s father was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer in December. The pain was still fresh. “I had to leave my mom’s side, and she couldn’t be in the hospital,” Greene said as her cheerful voice shrunk to just a hush. “I wasn’t too happy.”

“And then it was January 21.” The day after Biden’s inauguration, Greene brought forth her first articles of impeachment against President Biden. “Everybody knew about the Hunter Biden story. This is no secret. We don’t need an investigation… Everyone knows what happened. And, so, I introduced articles of impeachment on Joe Biden.”

“Well, it didn’t take them long” to retaliate, Greene said. Pelosi “claimed it was like some Facebook posts and comments from 2018, before I even ran for office or anything. But I really know what it was. It was because I introduced articles of impeachment on Joe Biden. I know that’s what it was. And I had been asked not to introduce those articles of impeachment by people in my own conference, and I did it anyways, and so I’m pretty sure they all figured out that I was uncontrollable.”

This is the only town where you hear people say, ‘don’t impeach Biden.’ Outside of this town, people cheer for it, they chant it, they shout it, they want it. But this town is the only town you hear ‘don’t impeach Biden’

— Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene

“Of course I’m not controllable,” Greene said, “I serve the people.”

“You know what, this is the only town where you hear people say, ‘don’t impeach Biden.’ Outside of this town, people cheer for it, they chant it, they shout it, they want it. But this town is the only town you hear ‘don’t impeach Biden,’” Greene claimed.

Before the vote on whether or not Greene could keep her committee assignments, she gave a speech on the House floor. Greene said she “regret[s]” some of the things she previously said online. Because she had only been in office at that point for a month and a day, she started off the speech by introducing herself to her colleagues. 

“You only know me by how Media Matters, CNN, MSNBC, and the rest of the mainstream media is portraying me,” Greene said on the House floor. Contrary to the media frenzy that was attempting to turn her into the biggest political pariah in the U.S. government absent President Donald Trump, the congresswoman contested that she is “a very regular American, just like the people I represent in my district.” She told her colleagues that she’s a wife, a mother of three—which she considers “the greatest blessing of my life and the greatest thing that I’ll ever achieve”—a first-generation college graduate, a successful owner of a family business, a hard worker, and an upstanding citizen who pays her taxes and has never been arrested, though she did admit to the occasional speeding ticket.

“I never, ever considered to run for Congress or even get involved in politics. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t a political person until I found a candidate that I really liked, and his name is Donald J. Trump,” Greene continued. “To me, he was someone I could relate to, someone that I enjoyed his plain talk, not the offensive things, but just the way he talked normally. And I thought, ‘Finally, maybe this is someone that will do something about the things that deeply bother me.’”

Greene then took aim at the political and media establishment. Their resistance to Trump and their endless peddling of the hoax that the former president colluded with the Russians to steal the 2016 election caused Greene to question the media and political leadership in Washington, entities that until Trump came on the scene Greene didn’t always trust but had some respect for.

And so, what I did is I started looking up things on the internet, asking questions, like most people do every day, use Google. And I stumbled across something, and this was at the end of 2017, called QAnon. Well, these posts were mainly about this Russian collusion information. A lot of it was some of what I would see on the news at night, and I got very interested in it, so I posted about it on Facebook. I read about it, I talked about it. I asked questions about it, and then more information came from it. But you see, here’s the problem: throughout 2018, because I was upset about things and didn’t trust the government, really because the people here weren’t doing the things that I thought they should be doing for us, the things that I just told you I cared about. And I want you to know a lot of Americans don’t trust our government and that’s sad.

Despite Greene’s persisting distrust of the political establishment, Greene claimed she started to move away from conspiratorial thinking later in 2018. “When I started finding misinformation, lies, things that were not true in these QAnon posts, I stopped believing it. And I want to tell you, any source, and I say this to everyone, any source of information that is a mix of truth and a mix of lies is dangerous no matter what it is saying, what party it is helping, anything or any country it’s about, it’s dangerous.”

“It is a true problem in our country,” Greene acknowledged. She addressed some of the recent controversies by name: “School shootings are absolutely real,” later mentioning David Hogg to remove any doubt that she was talking about Parkland, “9/11 absolutely happened… I do not believe that it’s fake.”

I decided to run for Congress because I wanted to help our country, I want Americans to have our American dream. I want to protect our freedoms. This is what I ran for Congress on. I never once said during my entire campaign, ‘QAnon’. I never once said any of the things that I am being accused of today during my campaign. I never said any of these things since I have been elected for Congress. These were words of the past and these things do not represent me. They do not represent my district and they do not represent my values.

But Greene said the current crisis of confidence in Washington would continue as long as politicians in D.C. allowed clear and present evils to persist, namely the institutionalized practice of abortion. “If we’re to say, ‘In God We Trust,’ how do we murder God’s creation in the womb?”

“If this Congress is to tolerate members that condone riots that have hurt American people, attack police officers, occupied federal property, burned businesses and cities, but yet wants to condemn me and crucify me in the public square for words that I said and I regret a few years ago, then I think we’re in a real big problem, a very big problem,” Greene stated bluntly.

It wasn’t the first time the political and media establishment teamed up to engineer Greene’s downfall. 

After Greene defeated her chief primary opponent in the August 2020 runoff by nearly a fifteen point margin, major outlets published exposés and profiles in droves. So-called “tech reporters” and “fact checkers” got to work digging up Greene’s history of activity on social media platforms. Ever more outlandish stories were built atop of old posts that were bizarre and conspiratorial but mostly innocuous, given Greene was then just a mother of three who helped run the family business with no political ambitions. Forbes ran an August 13, 2020, headline that said “Trump-Backed Candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene Promotes 9/11 Conspiracy Theory” (note the present tense); another headline from NPR read, “QAnon Supporter Who Made Bigoted Videos Wins Ga. Primary, Likely Heading To Congress.” Greene’s social media presence was drawing attention across the pond as well. A Guardian headline from September 2020 claimed, “QAnon conspiracy theorist to feel warm embrace of Republicans in Congress.” 

This was not fact-finding for the public good. It was a search and destroy mission.

After the general election, Greene thought for a split second that maybe the worst of the media firestorm had passed. Greene’s team quickly disabused the future congresswoman of that fleeting notion: “I was told, ‘Marjorie, when you get to D.C., they are going to come down on you. It’s going to be like hot fire raining down on you.’” 

“I remember being told that and I was like, what does that mean? Then I found out,” she remarked, with her brow lifted and eyes widened.

Pelosi’s effort to dismiss Greene from congressional committees was ultimately successful. Eleven Republicans joined every Democrat in Congress to vote in favor of the resolution—which was introduced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida Democrat infamous for her involvement in Hillary Clinton’s email scandals and rigging the 2016 Democratic Party nomination for Clinton over Bernie Sanders. The final tally was 230–199.

“There were 11 that voted to kick me off committees. There were 10 that voted to impeach President Trump,” Greene bemoaned. “That’s not necessarily a reflection on our Republican leadership, because they had no control. Nancy Pelosi was the one that did it. But what it does show is that we have a problem in the Republican conference. Now, I think I have proven to people here that they should never have done that to me, at least in our conference.”

I was told, ‘Marjorie, when you get to D.C., they are going to come down on you. It’s going to be like hot fire raining down on you.' I remember being told that and I was like, what does that mean? Then I found out."

— Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene

Nevertheless, “I think what the GOP conference and leadership needs to understand is that they all want it to be nice here. They do. They want to return the institution to its constitutional ways, and they want to restore peace and governance and all that stuff. I’m sorry, but that’s not where we are.”

In Greene’s mind, “Democrats need to be taught an extremely harsh lesson” if Republicans take back control of the House come January. “They need to be treated the same way we’ve been treated by them. They need to be reined in.” 

Greene, who will have new committee assignments next Congress, appears ready to return the favor to Democrats who gleefully removed her from her committee assignments. “We can name Maxine Waters, we can name Eric Swalwell, Adam Schiff, for lying and abusing his congressional authority. We can name members of the Squad. I mean, they’re the most antisemitic, horrific people there are in Congress. Anybody that’s blatantly criminal, anyone that has aligned themselves with communism, like Jamie Raskin—he’s basically a communist. Anyone that served on the January 6 Committee—Bennie Thompson, Adam Schiff, Jamie Raskin, the rest of those people—none of those people deserve committee assignments. None of them do. They don’t deserve any committee assignments because they’ve abused the Constitution and they’ve abused the power of Congress.”

In some cases, however, just spiking Democrat seats on committees isn’t enough. “We have to impeach people!” Greene exclaimed. “It’s unforgivable to not impeach Joe Biden, after President Trump was impeached for a phone call. And then he was impeached without a trial with nothing on January 11 of 2021. But Joe Biden. I mean, the list goes on: the border, Afghanistan, Hunter Biden and ‘10% for the big guy,’ and it’s all provable on Hunter Biden’s laptop filled with emails.”

It’s not just President Biden, either. “Secretary Mayorkas should be impeached. His job is the border, and he has allowed our country to be invaded. And then there’s Merrick Garland. Merrick Garland should be impeached.” Getting rid of Garland, Greene said, would be like “cutting the head off of a snake.”

“The Department of Justice and the FBI are both rogue institutions right now, and they are persecuting Americans who are conservative, voted for Trump, supported Trump, of course, had anything to do with January 6, parents that are trying to protect their kids—Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice and the FBI are persecuting them and they need to be reined in. They need to be gutted,” Greene said as quickly as her mouth could move. She’d been going on for five minutes straight. There was no slowing her down. She was genuinely outraged.

If the GOP conference and our leadership don’t get better over the next two years, elected Republicans don’t deserve Republican votes. And that’s how I feel.

— Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene

Eventually, the pace of Greene’s verbal blows slowed. Then her voice dropped a little more. “If the GOP conference and our leadership don’t get better over the next two years, elected Republicans don’t deserve Republican votes. And that’s how I feel.”

Without her seats on the Budget Committee and the Education Committee, Greene had to get creative. The freshman congresswoman, with the help of her staff, had to learn the ins and outs of House floor procedure on the fly, or risk accepting Pelosi’s sentence of two years in political purgatory for her sin of disinformation.

Greene and her staff put their newfound knowledge of how things actually work in Washington to good use, like when Rep. Cori Bush, a Black Lives Matter Activist who now serves in the House as a Democrat from Missouri, proposed an amendment to H.R. 1, also known as the For the People Act, in March 2021. The act would make many of the 2020 election rule changes permanent—such as the mail-in voting explosion—as well as create a system for automatic voter registration and allow convicted felons the right to vote after they complete their sentence. Bush’s amendment would have changed the bill’s language to give convicted felons still in prison the right to vote.

Bush’s amendment initially passed by a voice vote; however, Greene then stood up and called for a roll call vote to get every member on the record on whether they believe current prisoners deserve the right to vote in American elections. Under the scrutiny of a roll call vote, the amendment failed, and it wasn’t even close. The final tally was 328 against, only 97 for. In total, 119 Democrats voted against the Bush amendment.

Her maneuvering goes beyond the House floor. When Democrats were attempting to pass H.R. 1280, better known as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, Greene, with a maternal zeal, printed out flyers that summarized what the bill would do to police officers around the country and passed them out to every Capitol Police officer she met stationed around the complex. The flyers outlined that the bill would strip officers of qualified immunity and create a national database for complaints against police officers, among other things. 

This is the Marjorie Taylor Greene way of politics. Seemingly born from necessity, but with roots that stretch back to her youth.

Greene was born in the suburbs of Milledgeville, Georgia, once upon a time the state capital. She grew up Catholic, but later converted to Protestantism as a result of child sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church (public statements from Greene while in office denouncing members of church leadership have garnered backlash from various Catholic publications). Nevertheless, Greene attests she “loved growing up Catholic.”

“My parents started a very, very teeny-tiny small business. We were extremely poor,” Greene said, her smile going slack for a second as she leaned forward. Her smile returned as fast as it disappeared. “My dad was trying to build his construction business, and he would basically go door to door, knocking on doors, just asking if people needed work on their house.” Her father’s efforts to find work and grow his business led them to move around the northern half of the state a few times.

“He had a truck and a ladder, some tools, and that was it. And he slowly grew his construction business,” Greene said with a clear sense of pride for her father, who passed away from his battle with cancer last year.

“I was my dad’s first telemarketer at 14 years old. He sat me down with the phonebook and literally had me just call people. We didn’t have these,” Greene said with a flippant gesture towards her smartphone. “There was no Internet. There was no social media.” It was the yellow pages and the landline. 

“I would just call people, be real friendly, and ask them: Do you need a new roof? Do you need window replacement? Do you need siding? Can we do work on your deck? What kind of home repair do you need? And I would talk to him and talk to them. Take notes, write down their name, their address, their phone number, and I would set an appointment if I could. And if I could get five appointments then I was done for the day.”

In high school, Greene was a dishwasher at a local restaurant. “Best job anybody can ever have,” Greene said, but this time her smile had a tinge of disgust, probably reflecting on the mounds of dirty dishes and unfinished food she once had to sort through. “You learned to be humble. I was also a waitress in high school and in college. Another great job. Everybody should have to serve people,” Greene said.

Greene was a first generation college graduate, earning her degree in marketing from the University of Georgia School of Business. Once she finished school, she returned to her family’s construction business. “That’s all I really knew.”

Greene’s childhood in various parts of Georgia gave her a strong sense of state identity. Having a strong state identity “is really important because it’s foundational,” Greene told me. It’s “just as foundational as knowing when you’re a child growing up that there’s only two genders, and that you’re only one of them, and there’s no option to change it.”

Then, Greene enters full mom mode. “You know, kids have a lot of questions,” Greene said with her warm, toothy grin, “and it’s a parent’s responsibility, and it’s an extremely important responsibility, to answer those questions and instill truth in their kids. That’s building a foundation for a child growing up. That’s what my parents did for me. But it’s also what I did for my children. And I was the type of mom that would stop anything I’m doing, and talk to my kids or answer their questions, or spend time helping them understand something, or solving a problem.”

Growing up in Georgia means having hard conversations about parents’ work or the family business around the dinner table. It’s not being afraid to ask questions about family, country, and God, and discuss those things openly with the people you love most. “Teaching my kids the Bible growing up and talking about it and talking about my faith and praying in front of my children or with my children. Those are foundational, important pieces,” Greene went on in a motherly tone. “They’re also foundational for each individual, whether you're a parent or just an adult, we all need key pillars in our life. Faith is so important. It’s having something that you always know. God is real, and he loves me, no matter what’s happening in my life. It’s living in a country with a constitution that guarantees us rights and freedoms.”

But, Greene says, “our society now is flipped upside down.”

“We’re living in a time where our country, our government, is over $30 trillion in debt. People are encouraged to borrow as much money as they want, spend as much money as they want on credit cards. And there’s no consequences. We’ve got Joe Biden bailing out student loan debt, Elizabeth Warren trying to get people to file bankruptcy and make that easy, somehow. Republicans, too, I blame Republicans. They’re a big problem with the spending. I mean, they spent more money over the past, what, eight years, eight to 10 years, than Democrats did. They all did it together. And it’s absurd. And those create cracks in our foundation, our government.”

“America is our home,” Greene said in a sweet, mournful tone. “They’re destroying our home.” 

Greene said the assault on the family, the constitution, and faith have become so intense that it is “almost to the point where I think it’s right to say that Christian persecution has definitely started in America.”

“You can feel it,” Greene said with a sense of sorry disbelief. “If you’re a Christian, really walking in your faith, you can feel it, and you can see it.”

Greene sees the need for Christians to reassert themselves not just in the private sphere, but the public as well. The congresswoman has embraced the label of a Christian nationalist, and I asked her to define what being a Christian nationalist means. “Being a Christian nation means that we’re kind to everyone, everyone is equal, we love one another, we’re going to take care of the needy, we’re going to take care of the least, we’re going to take care of widows, children, mothers to be, we’re going to protect the unborn—we would never allow children to be attacked and mutilated and convinced they can change their gender.” At the same time, Greene says, we are “a loving nation of people of responsibility and of financial responsibility. A nation of laws, we’re a nation that will uphold our laws. We’re a nation of justice.”

“Those are Christian principles,” Greene added. “They’re biblical.”

“Being a nationalist,” Greene continued, is “simply loving your country and wanting this country, Americans’ hard earned tax dollars, to be spent for America, and for our problems, and our needs, and for our border, and for our people, and for our law enforcement.” It’s “strictly for America,” and “not spending money on everyone else’s needs, while our country is literally falling apart.”

Being a Christian nationalist is simply loving God, knowing Jesus is your Savior, and you love your country. And if we’d stick to those principles right there, then America not only will return to greatness, but America would be beyond that—it would be exceptional.

— Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene

“And being a Christian nationalist is simply loving God, knowing Jesus is your Savior, and you love your country. And if we’d stick to those principles right there, then America not only will return to greatness, but America would be beyond that—it would be exceptional. And that’s the kind of country we should strive for. And that’s what we should want to hand down to our kids.”

For Greene, this isn’t rocket science. In Washington, politicians, intellectuals, and activists are always trying to gain the upper hand, constantly insulating themselves from the nether parts of the country by creating more barriers to entry for those beyond the Beltway. Greene is not one of them, as the political elite class regularly reminds her. This raises the question: why are they so scared of her?

I think it’s because Greene sees the hottest political issues in terms of black and white—mutilating children’s genitalia, bad, Jesus and America, good. She refuses to see the political landscape in the shades of gray that the elites have chosen to paint it, colors that ultimately favor their chosen causes. Her simplicity and candor are refreshing. She’s speaking to you, never above you. Washington politicians aren’t supposed to do that, which, to them, makes Greene dangerous.

Unlike many other members of the Republican coalition, Greene has a natural knack for personal politics. Sitting across from her, you can’t help but be drawn in by her slightly southern charm and undeniable passion for the country’s foundational issues. Predictably, it has garnered her constituents’ adoration and fans from across the country.

And, love her or hate her, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is here in Washington to stay. Her election in 2020 wasn’t a fluke. A centrist Republican challenger won’t unseat her in a future primary. The results of the Georgia primaries in May confirm as much. Greene captured 69.5 percent of the vote, her nearest Republican challenger, Jennifer Strahan, just 16.9 percent. Opposite Greene come November is Marcus Flowers, a former defense contractor and Department of Defense official. Flowers won his primary by an even larger percentage than Greene. Flowers, however, garnered just over 20,000 votes. Greene hauled in more than 72,000.

Greene’s style of politics may be unorthodox, but she came to D.C. to shake things up. It has all the zeal of a suburban mom in the local Rotary Club. It’s grassroots, shoe leather, a bit chaotic, a bit over the top. But it’s effective. Her constituents like the Marjorie Taylor Greene way of politics. I do, too, and can’t help but root for her efforts to cause trouble in Congress for many years to come.

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