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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene backs bill that would ban Pride flags at U.S. embassies

The embattled Republican has also thrown her support behind a bill that would bar transgender girls and women from participating in women’s sports.
Image: Rainbow flag on US Embassy building in Moscow
A U.S. flag and an LGBTQ Pride flag on the front facade of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on June 25, 2020.Valery Sharifulin / TASS via Getty Images file

Controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has co-sponsored legislation that would ban U.S. embassies from flying the LGBTQ Pride flag.

Greene, a freshman Republican from Georgia, has earned widespread criticism for her support for QAnon conspiracy theories, attacks on religious minorities, and suggestions that mass school shootings were “false flag” operations.

If passed, H.R. 85, the Old Glory Only Act, would require the secretary of state to ensure “that no United States diplomatic or consular post flies any flag other than the United States flag over such post.”

Image: Marjorie Taylor Greene
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., leaves her office on Capitol Hill on Feb. 4, 2021.Nicholas Kamm / AFP - Getty Images

In a release issued earlier this week, Greene, 46, stated her support for the measure was a continuation of her “America First Agenda.”

“The federal government should only be flying the flag that represents ALL people, the American flag,” she said. “We need to bring back pride in our country and raise the Star Spangled Banner proudly. Old Glory represents our great American military and their sacrifices to ensure our freedom."

Greene went on to falsely claim that, “President Biden’s State Department has already raised a flag over our embassies that doesn't represent the vast majority of Americans.”

While it is unclear what flag she’s referring to, her statement was issued 10 days after newly confirmed Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed to allow U.S. embassies to fly the LGBTQ pride flag. In his confirmation hearings, Blinken said he would reverse a Trump administration’s ban on the rainbow flag “to outright show LGBTQ solidarity.”

In 2015, the Obama administration gave embassies blanket permission to fly Pride flags in June, a practice ended by the Trump administration in 2019, when it required envoys to request special permission. Embassy staff in Israel, Germany, Brazil and Latvia were among those who sought approval and were denied, diplomats told NBC News previously.

The only flag Greene specifically called out in her statement backing the flag legislation was the Black Lives Matter flag. She slammed “past, rogue members of the State Department” for flying “the flag of the radical Marxist group, Black Lives Matter.”

In June 2020, both Black Lives Matter and Pride flags were hung over the U.S. Embassy in South Korea. The banners were quickly removed after complaints by then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then-President Donald Trump, Bloomberg News reported.

An embassy spokesperson told NPR at the time that Ambassador Harry Harris, a Trump appointee, had displayed the Black Lives Matter banner in “solidarity with Americans concerned with racism, especially racial violence against African Americans.”

Greene insisted she isn’t playing politics, adding, “this is about Patriotism, and we need more of it.”

Greene did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

The Old Glory Only Act has been introduced repeatedly since 2018 by Rep. Jeff Duncan, a South Carolina Republican, though it has never advanced. Greene signed on as a co-sponsor Monday, as did Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas.

Last month, Greene also signed on as a co-sponsor of the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, which would bar transgender girls and women from participating in women’s sports.

In a Jan. 23 statement, she claimed the bill is intended to “stop the dangerous trend of biological males infiltrating women's sports to achieve a competitive advantage.”

"As a former competitive athlete and a mother to a daughter who is a D1 collegiate athlete, I staunchly oppose biological males in girls/women’s sports, locker rooms, and bathrooms,” Greene said. “This completely violates women’s rights in every way. Women's sports should be women's sports."

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Greene has garnered a reputation for backing conspiracy theories on social media: In addition to claiming the 2018 California wildfires were started by "Jewish space lasers" and suggesting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., should be executed for treason, she has questioned whether a plane actually crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

In a 2019 interview with a Georgia gun group, she admitted to repeatedly hounding Parkland, Florida, school shooting survivor David Hogg, whom she called an "idiot" who "only talks when he is scripted."

On Thursday, House Republicans declined to vote on whether to remove Greene from her committee assignments, though House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement that her past comments on “school shootings, political violence, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories do not represent the values or beliefs of the House Republican Conference.”

Democrats scheduled a full House vote Thursday afternoon to remove Greene from the education and budget committees.

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