Stripped of her committee assignments for a series of xenophobic and anti-Semitic comments — not to mention her public support of the QAnon conspiracy theory — Greene simply doesn’t have all that much to do, aside from forcing meaningless House votes and fighting Covid-19 by doing “pull-ups.”
She added randomly-confronting-another-member-of-Congress to that list on Wednesday. According to two Washington Post reporters who witnessed the incident, Greene chased after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — yelling the New York Democrat’s name to get her attention. When AOC didn’t respond, Greene took it up a notch. “You don’t care about the American people,” Greene shouted, the Post reported. “Why do you support terrorists and antifa?” The Post said that AOC turned around at one point and made an exasperated gesture with her hands. (Worth noting: Antifa has not been labeled a terrorist organization.)
So, yeah. In the wake of the incident, several things happened:
1. Greene tweeted this: “Just talked to @AOC again. You chickened out bc you are too scared to debate me about your Socialist Green New Deal. You are also a hate-America terrorist sympathizer. #JihadSquad Members of Congress do NOT support terrorism & shouldn’t be afraid to debate their legislation.”
2. Ocasio-Cortez’s office requested additional security measures be put in place. “We hope leadership and the Sergeant at Arms will take real steps to make Congress a safe, civil place for all Members and staff — especially as many offices are discussing reopening,” said an AOC spokeswoman in a statement to the Post. “One Member has already been forced to relocate her office due to Congresswoman Greene’s attacks.” (Missouri Rep. Cori Bush moved offices to get further away from Greene after the two had a confrontation following Bush’s request that Greene wear a mask.)
3. Greene (of course) responded to AOC on Twitter. Again. Here that is: “.@AOC ‘Ms. Defund The Police’ wants to call the police for security bc she’s afraid of debating with me about her socialist GND. AOC is a fraud & a hypocrite. That’s fine Sandy.”
It’s getting better all the time!
There’s a lot wrong here but the main thing is this: The current version of the Republican Party rewards this sort of performative BS. Which is why people like Greene are stars — and why she keeps looking for new lines to cross. As The Bulwark’s Jonathan V. Last wrote eloquently about this phenomenon (of which Greene is the leading edge):
“Republican voters — a group distinct from Conservatism Inc. — no longer have any concrete outcomes that they want from government.
“What they have, instead, is a lifestyle brand.
“And if you want to move up the ladder within a brand network, you don’t do it by governing or making policy.
“You do it by getting attention.”
Greene is extremely good at getting attention. And then raising money — lots and lots of it — from the conservative base from that attention. What she is doing has zero to do with governing or trying to pass any sort of legislation that might help the people she represents. It is entirely aimed at building her own personal brand (and monetizing that brand) by seeking out any and all confrontation. It’s “owning the libs” in place of any actual policy ideas or attempts to, you know, perform the duties of a federally elected official.
Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a frequent critic of the rise of former President Donald Trump and the performative politics Trump ushered into the GOP, tweeted this Thursday morning of the Greene-AOC confrontation:
“While I may not agree with @AOC on issues, I’ve never seen her confront a colleague like this. The house was created to debate emotional issues professionally, and it seems some just want attention or cannot handle their emotions.”
To which Greene immediately shot back: “Since you are short on understanding little Adam, I asked @AOC to debate me. In the chamber, to debate her destructive socialist policies. But Sandy doesn’t know how to work with Republicans. Neither do you.”
Because of course she did.