Speaker Nancy Pelosi grew visibly upset at her weekly press conference on Thursday discussing Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene’s latest publicity stunt to rile up liberals over rights for trans people.
Ms Pelosi’s chamber is poised to pass legislation known as the Equality Act on Thursday that would explicitly protect LGBTQ people in the US from discrimination from businesses, employers, and the government.
The bill has inspired fierce opposition from social conservatives in the House GOP, including Ms Greene, the freshman congresswoman from Georgia who taunted another member on Wednesday by hanging a transphobic sign in the hallway outside their offices in Washington.
“It is necessary. I wish it weren’t. It breaks my heart that it is necessary,” Ms Pelosi told reporters of the Equality Act on Thursday.
“And in fact, we had —” she said, pausing, audibly sighing, and looking down at the podium before continuing, “— a sad event here even this morning demonstrating the need for us to have respect. Not even just respect, but take pride. Take pride in our LGBTQ community.”
On Wednesday evening, freshman Democratic Congresswoman Marie Newman of Illinois — whose daughter is trans and whose office is across the hall from Ms Greene’s in the Longworth house Office Building — posted a video to her social media supporting the Equality Act and taunting Ms Greene for her opposition by erecting a trans pride flag outside the door of her own office.
“Our neighbour, @RepMTG, tried to block the Equality Act because she believes prohibiting discrimination against trans Americans is ‘disgusting, immoral, and evil,’” Ms Newman tweeted as the caption for the video.
“Thought we’d put up our Transgender flag so she can look at it every time she opens her door,” Ms Newman wrote.
A few hours later, Ms Greene pasted a sign outside her own door that reads: “There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE. ‘Trust the science!’”
“Our neighbour, @RepMarieNewman, wants to pass the so-called “Equality” Act to destroy women’s rights and religious freedoms,” Ms Greene tweeted as the caption to her own video mimicking Ms Newman’s videography and hand gestures, and smile nearly shot for shot.
“Thought we’d put up ours so she can look at it every time she opens her door,” the tweet continued.
Critics immediately pilloried Ms Greene for directing such a message at a colleague who as the mother of a transgender daughter is deeply emotionally invested in the issue.
Ms Greene’s gesture was “sickening, pathetic, unimaginably cruel,” Illinois Democratic Congressman Sean Casten tweeted.
“This hate is exactly why the #EqualityAct is necessary and what we must protect @RepMarieNewman’s daughter and all our LGBTQ+ loved ones against.”
Congressional Republicans from across the ideological spectrum mostly oppose the Equality Act, arguing that it threatens “religious freedom” afforded by the US Constitution.
The House Democratic majority earlier this month voted to remove Ms Greene from her committee posts, citing her past social media endorsement of violence against Democratic politicians and other extremist views.
The Georgia congresswoman was once a follower and promoter of the QAnon conspiracy theory that maintained Donald Trump was elected president to fight a shadow war against a cabal of Satan-worshipping, paedophilic, liberal politicians and cultural elites.
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