Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) appeared to kick an unarmed demonstrator during a confrontation outside the Capitol on Thursday afternoon.
Videos posted to Twitter by Greene and the Gen Z activist group Voters of Tomorrow show Greene leaving a news conference while being questioned by activists about gun violence. As Greene approaches a crosswalk, she appears to kick one of the activists, who was walking in front of her.
These foolish cowards want the government to take away guns & the rights of parents to defend their children in schools.
You have to be an idiot to think gun control will create a utopian society where criminals disarm themselves and obey the law.
“Gun-free” zones kill people. pic.twitter.com/1T37HH8jEO
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) September 15, 2022
“Excuse me,” Greene says while at first appearing to step on demonstrator Marianna Pecora’s foot.
“Excuse me,” Greene says again, this time after appearing to intentionally draw back her foot and aim for Pecora’s leg.
“Oh my God,” Pecora, 18, is seen saying in the videos.
“You can’t block members of Congress,” Greene’s communications director, Nick Dyer, told Pecora, even though Greene was engaging her in conversation.
In a statement to The Washington Post, Dyer voiced objections to the description of the video and described a version of events unsubstantiated by video evidence.
The confrontation began around 5 p.m. Eastern, when the House’s conservative Freedom Caucus, of which Greene is a member, held a news conference to discuss a government funding bill being debated in the Senate.
As the legislators left the event, Santiago Mayer, the 20-year-old founder of Voters of Tomorrow, approached Greene and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), another member of the caucus, asking to take a photo and claiming to be a “big fan,” a Washington Post reporter at the event observed.
But both members quickly recognized Mayer as an activist. Boebert pushed Mayor’s smartphone away and quickly exited. Greene instead jousted with the group of activists — and accused Mayer of abusing children.
Mayer told The Washington Post that accusation came after he asked her whether she had a plan to protect children from school shootings.
“You’re helping kids get shot in school,” Mayer said to Greene.
The lawmaker, who has been critical of gun-control regulations to prohibit firearms in certain public places, responded by saying he should just “move to another country.”
“I asked her if her official stance as a member of Congress was that I should just move to another country if I didn’t want kids to get shot,” Mayer said.
He said Greene refused to answer that query. That’s when Pecora stepped in, and the videos appear to show the incident taking a physical turn. The congresswoman, Mayer said, also called the group of activists “cowards.”
Mayer, who is a Mexican immigrant, said he does not know if his slight accent tipped off Greene, leading to her suggestion that he move to another country. After the incident, however, Greene targeted Mayer and his nationality on Twitter, calling him a “paid political activist, who just so happens to be blessed to have immigrated to our great country.”
“He should respect and be grateful for American freedoms, like our 2A, instead of trying to destroy them,” she said. “If he doesn’t like it, he can go back.”
Mayer is a grass-roots organizer who founded Voters of Tomorrow at age 17 to encourage his American peers to vote and be more civically engaged. He said he, Pecora and other members of the Gen Z-run group were at the Capitol on Thursday to “talk to members of Congress about what Gen Z’s priorities are.” They had just left a meeting with the House Rules Committee when they ran into the Freedom Caucus.
Pecora, a freshman in college, told The Post that the altercation with Greene was unlike any other interaction she’s had with sitting lawmakers, whom she spent the week meeting with to discuss Gen Z’s priorities. Those lawmakers, she said, took her group of young activists seriously and treated them with respect.
“It’s honestly, like, really disheartening to think that a bunch of kids can hold themselves with better composure than a sitting member of Congress,” Pecora said. “We’ve been sitting in meetings all week with both Democrats and Republicans. Nobody has been anything but respectful. Everybody has been just so incredibly attentive, and taken us seriously and had, like, really productive conversations with us. Except for Marjorie Taylor Greene.”
Mayer said he and Pecora have not yet discussed whether they will press charges against Greene. Pecora, he said, was physically okay after being kicked, if slightly shaken.
“It’s kind of just been chaos,” Mayer said. “She’s … just kind of shocked that a member of Congress would try to kick her.”
Greene has a history of heated confrontations around the Capitol.
In 2019, before she was elected to Congress, she harassed David Hogg, a then-teenage gun-control activist and survivor of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, while he walked the grounds to meet with legislators.
Greene followed Hogg for several blocks while repeating falsehoods about the events at his high school, where 17 people were killed in the 2018 attack. As Hogg crossed a street, Greene turns toward another person filming the encounter and called Hogg “a coward.”
In 2021, Greene accosted Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) in a Capitol hallway and accused her of supporting “terrorists.” Two Post journalists witnessed the interaction, which led Ocasio-Cortez to call on congressional leadership to review its security posture to protect elected officials.
“You don’t care about the American people,” Greene shouted. “Why do you support terrorists and antifa?”
Ocasio-Cortez did not stop to answer Greene, only turning around once and throwing her hands in the air in an exasperated motion.
House Democrats have chastised Greene for her behavior, and voted in 2021 to strip her of committee assignments.
Greene previously said Black people “are held slaves to the Democratic Party” and claimed that Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — the first two Muslim women elected to Congress — represented “an Islamic invasion into our government offices.” She also has repeatedly compared liberal lawmakers to Nazis, and continued to do so even after warnings from Republican leaders to cease.
Marianna Sotomayor contributed to this report.