Chorus of Condemnation Grows for New Congresswoman Seen Badgering Parkland Shooting Survivor
Newly elected Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and the Republican Party's leadership are being increasingly condemned for Greene's history of incendiary behavior.
The controversy — which traces back to Greene's support of the QAnon conspiracy — intensified this week as parents and former students in the Parkland school shooting spoke out over videos Greene filmed before she was elected to Congress.
In one video reportedly filmed in 2019 Greene can be seen following David Hogg, a survivor of the 2018 mass shooting who later became an activist for gun violence reform, as he walks outside near the U.S. Capitol. Greene calls him a "coward" and falsely accuses him of being funded by liberal donors.
Another video filmed at an unclear date, which appears to be taken inside a government office building, shows Greene following Hogg and asking if he "really thinks red flag gun laws" will prevent mass shootings.
Hogg, now 20, does not engage with Greene in the footage.
Asked if he remembered the incident, Hogg told CNN New Day host Alisyn Camerota on Thursday that "I absolutely remember that."
"I remember thinking, you know, I'm just going to keep a straight face and practice my mindfulness meditation that I've often done to cope with my PTSD and my ADHD as well," Hogg said.
He continued: "We can see in that video they're clearly trying to get a rise out of me and the fellow activists that I'm with by asking incredibly triggering questions ... by saying the name of the shooter of my high school and stuff like that. Sometimes, as I was told growing up, it's just better not to respond to bullies and to just walk away."
In the wake of the shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Hogg and many of his fellow students (with some exceptions) became outspoken proponents of gun reform.
Hogg co-founded the group March for our Lives after the massacre, in which 17 students and faculty were fatally shot by a former student.
In one of her videos of Hogg, Greene, who was not yet a lawmaker, also complains that he "got to talk to senators" while she "got to talk to none."
"Guess what? I'm a gun owner," Greene says to the camera. "I'm an American citizen. And I have nothing. But this guy with his George Soros funding and his major liberal funding has got everything."
When asked for comment regarding the video, Greene's office sent a statement to PEOPLE in which she claimed that her own high school was previously taken hostage and that the video of her badgering Hogg came as she was opposing gun control measures.
"I was going from office to office in the Senate to oppose the radical gun control agenda that David Hogg was pushing," Greene insisted in her statement. "In 11th grade, one of my fellow students took our school hostage with a gun he brought to our 'gun-free' school. I understand that fear firsthand and I will always work to protect our gun rights so that Americans can defend themselves and others against bad people intent to harm or kill them."
The videos come after earlier criticism following unearthed Facebook posts in which Greene's page endorsed calls for violence against elected officials — activity that amplified controversy over Greene's support for QAnon and other conspiracies.
CNN previously reported that Greene had "liked" a comment on Facebook that called for "a bullet to the head" of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Greene denied personal responsibility for her own Facebook page's activity.
"Over the years, I've had teams of people manage my pages," she tweeted. "Many posts have been liked. Many posts have been shared. Some did not represent my views. Especially the ones that CNN is about to spread across the internet."
A spokesman for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Axios on Tuesday that the lawmaker planned to speak to Green about the "deeply disturbing" social media posts about violence.
"These comments are deeply disturbing and Leader McCarthy plans to have a conversation with the Congresswoman about them," the spokesman told the outlet.
Speaking to CNN, Hogg said McCarthy needs to do more than just speak to Greene and suggested the GOP leader "take all of her committee assignments away."
"If you say this is not your party, actually call it out and hold her accountable," Hogg said.
On Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi also slammed the GOP response to Greene's actions, saying at a weekly news conference that she was "concerned" about "the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, who is willing to overlook, ignore those statements."
Pelosi also spoke more broadly about what she called a threatening atmosphere among lawmakers in the shadow of a deadly insurrection at the Capitol by Donald Trump's supporters.
"We will probably need a supplemental for more security for members when the enemy is within the House of Representatives — a threat that members are concerned about in addition to what is happening outside," Pelosi told reporters on Thursday.
She did not name any particular members, instead saying, "We have members of Congress who want to bring guns on the floor and have threatened violence on other members of Congress."
On previous Facebook posts, Greene has also agreed with those who falsely claimed that the 2018 shooting was a "false flag" operation, writing "Exactly!" in response to a comment arguing that the Parkland event was staged.
Greene, who is in the House's Republican minority, was recently given one of the party's seats on the Committee on Education and Labor.
"Assigning her to the Education Committee when she has mocked the killing of little children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, when she has mocked the killing of teenagers in high school at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school — what could they be thinking?" Pelosi asked on Thursday. "Or is thinking too generous a word for what they might be doing? It's absolutely appalling, and I think the focus has to be on the Republican leadership of this House of Representatives for the disregard they have for the death of those children."
Fred Guttenberg — whose daughter Jaime was killed in the Parkland shooting, spurring his activism — told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell this week that Greene has "no place in Congress," arguing that more should be done by Republican leadership in response to her past behaviors.
"People were saying, 'Oh, you know, those are old, everybody says things they wish they could take back' ... she hasn't taken it back,' " Guttenberg said. "She hasn't said, 'I was wrong.' She hasn't said, 'I was sorry.' She hasn't said, 'I don't believe this.' She is letting the lie live."
Guttenberg continued: "And unfortunately those who are in leadership in that party are saying they're okay with it, also, because they aren't doing anything."
"Kevin McCarthy ... you need to remove her," Guttenberg said. "She has no place in Congress. She won – she ran a race on a lie. She's there. It's now your job to get her out."
On Wednesday, California Rep. Jimmy Gomez said that he was drafting a resolution that would seek to remove Greene from Congress.
Greene has proved a lightning rod since being elected in November to represent Georgia's 14th Congressional District, largely in the rural northern part of the state.
In addition to her past comments at QAnon — which a spokesman now says "she has nothing to do with" and "doesn't support" — Greene's social media activity shows she wondered whether a deadly California wildfire had been started by space lasers.
When asked to respond to the calls to have Greene removed from office or stripped from her committee assignments, her spokesperson sent PEOPLE a comment denouncing both Democrats and the media. It reads, in part: "Democrats and their spokesmen in the Fake News Media will stop at nothing to defeat conservative Republicans ... They want to take me out because I represent the people."