Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene on Wednesday was blocked from further participation in a House Homeland Security Committee hearing after she broke House rules by calling Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas a “liar” while questioning him on the Biden administration’s border policies.
Ms Greene, a conspiracy theorist who was assigned to the prestigious committee after supporting California’s Kevin McCarthy in his bid to become House Speaker, began her allotted five minutes by slandering Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell and accusing him of having had “a sexual relationship with a Chinese spy”.
Mr Swalwell cooperated in an FBI probe which led to the alleged spy, Christine Fang, leaving the US for China, but there is no evidence that he had any sort of sexual relationship with her.
New York Democrat Daniel Goldman immediately offered a motion to have her words “taken down,” which would strike them from the official hearing record and bar her from speaking further. The committee’s GOP majority voted to table the motion, and Ms Greene was permitted to resume speaking.
At that point, she laid into Mr Mayorkas with a series of accusations about his purported responsibility for fentanyl overdoses among American youth.
After she asked him “how long” he would “continue this outrage,” the former prosecutor turned Cabinet secretary attempted to defend his department’s performance. He told Ms Greene that he could “assure” her that the department is “not letting it go on” and is “fighting” the trafficking.
Before he could finish, Ms Greene interjected again, shouting at the top of her lungs.
“You’re a liar. You are letting this go on (and) the numbers prove it. You can’t lie about the fact, Secretary Mayorkas, while you live in denial and sit over there with this attitude that you’re doing everything right ... you are killing Americans with your policies,” she said.
A moment later, Mississippi Representative Bennie Thompson, the committee’s ranking Democrat, asked for her words to be “taken down” because they violated House rules of decorum.
Mr Thompson, who has served on the committee since it was created, said the panel has “a history of being a bipartisan committee that work on solutions”.
“We can disagree, but we’ve gotten to the point of the language that we’re using is not the kind of language that historically we use as members of this committee,” he said. “There’s a way that we are to conduct ourselves and what I’m hearing is not how a majority of this committee conducts business and we can do better”.
When the panel’s chairman, Tennessee Republican Mark Green, asked if Ms Greene would withdraw her statement, she refused.
He immediately ruled that she’d violated the rules and ordered the words stricken from the record.
“It’s pretty clear that the rules state you can’t impugn someone’s character, identifying or calling someone a liar is unacceptable in this committee, and I make the ruling that we strike those words,” he said.
He added that Ms Greene was “no longer recognised,” meaning she could not finish her questioning of Mr Mayorkas. Under House rules, she would be barred from any subsequent rounds of questioning during the Wednesday hearing.
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