A House committee formally silenced Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., on Wednesday after she lobbed accusations at the homeland security secretary during his congressional testimony.
Democrats on the GOP-led Homeland Security Committee twice sought to strike remarks made by Greene at the hearing, one in which she accused a Democratic member of having an extramarital affair, but the only bipartisan agreement came when she called Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas "a liar."
The first remark that sparked backlash came when it was Greene’s turn to question Mayorkas. She followed Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., who had displayed a poster that depicted a defund-the-FBI campaign with Greene’s face on it.
Greene said the criticism from Swalwell was rich “from someone that had a sexual relationship with a Chinese spy, and everyone knows it.”
Democrats immediately moved to strike her words, arguing she had violated House rules about making attacks based on personality. Greene declined to withdraw her remarks.
Swalwell has repeatedly denied having an improper relationship with a Chinese woman who was involved in fundraising with his campaign, and the FBI has said it found no evidence that Swalwell shared any classified information with the woman.
Committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., denied the motion to strike Greene’s comments about Swalwell. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the panel’s ranking Democrat, appealed the ruling, saying he was appalled that the accusations were aired in a committee hearing. The appeal failed.
Minutes later, Greene accused Mayorkas of failing to prevent the flow of fentanyl into the U.S.
"Congresswoman, let me assure you that we’re not letting it go on. We are fighting this," Mayorkas responded.
Greene then yelled: “You’re a liar! You are letting this go on, and the numbers prove it!”
Again, Thompson moved to take down the remarks, and again Greene refused to withdraw her comments.
But this time, the chairman said the Greene’s comments violated House rules.
“It’s pretty clear that the rules state you can’t impugn someone’s character. Identifying or calling someone a liar is unacceptable in this committee, and I make the ruling that we strike those words,” Green said.
Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., then noted that Thompson’s motion was to “take down” Greene’s remarks, not “strike them” — taking them down would essentially end Greene’s ability to question Mayorkas further. The committee did just that.
Greene was not kicked out of the hearing, but she was prohibited from speaking further.
She tweeted about the incident, saying: "Republicans will never defeat the Democrats, we’ll never impeach Mayorkas, we’ll never impeach Biden, and we’ll never implement our conservative agenda if we can’t even call a liar a liar.
"Republicans should not let Democrats strike down our words and do their bidding for them," she added.
Democrats expressed frustration during the hearing that Greene was reprimanded for the Mayorkas comment but not the one about Swalwell, arguing the attack on Swalwell was clearly about his character.
Swalwell and Greene recently clashed on Twitter after she came to the defense of Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira, who was arrested last week in connection with the investigation into classified documents that were leaked on the internet.
Greene had tweeted that “Teixeira is white, male, christian, and antiwar. That makes him an enemy to the Biden regime.” Swalwell responded on Twitter: “I’m sorry, Marge, being white, male, and Christian is not license to betray your country and put the lives of thousands at risk.”