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Marjorie Taylor Greene, West Palm Beach
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaking at the 2023 Turning Point Action Conference in West Palm Beach, FL. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A congressional hearing yesterday descended into chaos as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Jasmine Crockett (D-TX) traded personal insults.

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Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee (hereafter referred to as the “committee,” “panel,” or “circus”) proved to be not-so-surprisingly prophetic in his opening remarks at a hearing that might have been one of the dumbest and most chaotic in congressional history. 

“Today, with the cast and crew fresh back from their surprise trip to New York City, it is clear the show must go on,” said Raskin, barely able to conceal a smirk. “Now, our originally scheduled performance was supposed to be at 11:00 a.m. today, but it was postponed when members of the majority chose to join a mass spiritual pilgrimage to the New York criminal trial of a Florida man.”

But even Raskin could not have predicted how stupid things would get… and that’s saying something. After all, the committee, led by Rep. James Comer (R-KY), previously had “The Tales of the Biden Crime Family,” better known as “Baseless Accusations That Go Nowhere,” on its playbill. 

First of all, the purpose of the hearing was already idiotic. The question before the panel was whether Attorney General Merrick Garland should be held in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over the tapes of interviews that special counsel Robert Hur conducted with Joe Biden as part of his investigation into whether the president mishandled classified documents before he was elected. 

That might seem like a reasonable request. Surely, Congress should know what was said in these conversations. But here is the thing: It already does because the transcripts have been made available to the panel for some time.

Essentially, this is about whether Republicans can obtain soundbites for campaign commercials and that can be played on Fox News when Comer makes one of his daily appearances on the GOP propaganda network. 

Then, as Raskin alluded to, the hearing had to be postponed from the morning to 8:00 p.m. because a bunch of the committee’s Republicans wanted to go to New York City to show their support for Donald Trump.

Maybe the late hour of the performance made some people cranky, but for whatever reason, things didn’t go so well. It all began in earnest when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), spoiling for a fight with her biceps showing, asked whether any of the panel’s Democrats employed the services of the daughter of the judge who is presiding over the former president’s criminal trial.  

Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX) then asked, quite sensibly, what that had to do with Garland, and whether the Georgia lawmaker even knew what today’s performance was about, upon which Greene made a remark about Crockett’s “fake eyelashes.” 

The Sorry State of the GOP’s Performance Artist Caucus

Things quickly spiraled out of control from there, and Comer was clearly in over his head. 

Democrats called for the remark to be stricken since it constituted a personal attack on a member of the panel. After a few more insults flew from right to left and left to right for nearly an hour, “order” to the circus was restored, Greene agreed to strike her comments from the record but refused to apologize.

Usually, committee rules would then prohibit the Georgia lawmaker from speaking again at the hearing, but… rules, shmules. 

Comer simply declared that the comment did not violate House rules against personal attacks, and, when Raskin objected, the panel’s Republicans voted to kill that appeal (in one of the performance’s most salacious subplots, Rep. Lauren Boebert [R-CO], who has been feuding with Greene, voted with the Democrats on that one).

That led Crockett to deliver the line of the night when she asked for a clarification on what else members would be allowed to say: “I’m just curious, just to better understand your ruling. If someone on this committee then starts talking about somebody’s bleach blonde, bad built butch body, that would not be engaging in personalities, correct?”

Predictably, more chaos ensued. 

However, some semblance of order was restored eventually, and the performance came to an end.  It’s tough to see how a sequel to this saga won’t involve Greene challenging various Democrats to cage matches, so stay tuned. 

Author

  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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