Before being elected to Congress, Marie Newman was an anti-bullying expert and she saw Marjorie Taylor Greene’s efforts to delay a vote on the Equality Act, legislation to formally prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as bullying — so she acted. Occupying the Capitol Hill office across the hallway from Greene, Newman, the mother of a transgender daughter, put a transgender pride flag outside her office.
Newman told New York her thinking in how to respond to Greene was simple. “I’m going to put this flag here so you can see it every day and see about your actions and your hate and your disrespect. So that’s all that was meant to do. It was just making a statement.” She added, “You only let a bully go so long, and then you have to be clear and direct and firm — and I was.”
Greene, the inflammatory Georgia Republican with a history of dabbling in conspiracy theories, responded with a sign outside her office insisting “There are TWO genders: Male & Female. Trust The Science!” and attacking the Illinois Democrat on Twitter, where she intentionally misgendered Newman’s daughter.
To Newman, the response was amusing. “It’s classic, it’s textbook anti-social behavior. She dug in. She knows she’s wrong, she dug in and is justifying her hate with red herrings.” She added, “The printed piece she put up on the wall is absolutely hysterical to me, people who bring up red herrings in any arguments are never successful long term, so good luck with that.”
Newman seemed both bemused and somewhat befuddled by how intensely her Republican colleague was picking a fight on social media. “The fact that she spends time on going to get a sign printed and putting it up and continuing to troll me the rest of the day … keep going if you want to spend your time doing that. You do you, and I’ll do me,” she said.
The exchange brought new round of criticism for Greene, who was kicked off her committees earlier this year after social-media comments emerged in which she endorsed murdering Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Greene has long faced criticism for her embrace of various conspiracy theories, including QAnon and the false claim that Donald Trump won the 2020 election. Illinois Republican Adam Kinzinger, a vocal critic of Greene and extremism in his party, tweeted, “This is sad and I’m sorry this happened. Rep. Newmans daughter is transgender, and this video and tweet represents the hate and fame driven politics of self-promotion at all evil costs. This garbage must end, in order to #RestoreOurGOP.”
Newman told New York that a number of other Republicans have reached out to her in the past day and “they are apologetic and horrified by her behavior.”
The Illinois freshman didn’t seem eager to dwell on the incident. In her view, COVID relief “should be front and center. I spent 30 seconds making a statement and went back to hustling and bustling.” Newman added, “This incident was just an incident. I’m glad that I pointed out she was being disrespectful and hateful, and now we move on.”
In the meantime, if Greene keeps tweeting about Newman, the Democrat might not see it. “I don’t have a lot of time for anything ever,” she said. “So taking time for social media, it’s not the top on my list.”