Marjorie Taylor Greene, supreme hobgoblin of 2022: Her year of culture-war lowlights

In 2022 Marjorie Taylor Greene became the right's superstar — by choosing making a mess over making a difference

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published December 26, 2022 6:00AM (EST)

Marjorie Taylor Greene (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Marjorie Taylor Greene (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

I was hired as Salon's nights and weekends editor in February of 2022. Before that, the little I knew of Marjorie Taylor Greene led me to lump her into the same category as Kanye West or Elon Musk, to cite two other humans very much in the news this past year. I knew little about her politics, but Greene registered as another public figure who had been afforded every opportunity and resource in the world to make a positive impact but who had opted instead to make as loud of a fuss and as big of a mess as possible.

After nearly a full calendar year following Greene's career as an especially aggressive Republican member of Congress from Georgia — and the conservative movement's biggest star, other than a guy named Donald Something-or-Other — I can't say that my initial opinion of her has changed much. But I believe I've acquired some keener insight into where she's coming from and where she's likely headed.

Donald Trump loves Greene and has often referred to her as his "warrior." That may be how she sees herself, but true  warriors aren't as needy as Greene seems to be and don't need as much as Greene does. Judging by her appearances over the past year, it's clear that saying whatever bonkers thing comes to mind, with the goal of ensuring that she'll land at the top of news coverage the following morning, takes precedence over any legitimate action plan. Growing up, I was taught not to talk about doing things but just to do them. That's how a strong woman should be, and how a warrior should act. I'm not a warrior by any means — but neither is she. 

My background is in writing about culture and celebrities, and I viewed Greene through that lens as I watched her spend 2022 nuzzling up to the twice-impeached ex-president, attacking vulnerable people, encouraging violence and dehumanizing the LGBTQ community at every opportunity. In other words, I know her as a villain, and as a lover of film, television and literature, I also know that villains are often the most compelling, even irresistible characters. 

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In every nightmare I've had since I was a child, if there's a monster or some such thing coming after me I don't attempt to run away from it, I try to join with it, intuiting, even in a dream, that fighting from the inside rather than from the outside is the better move. You get close to a villain so you can keep track of where they are and what they're doing. You get close to a villain so you're ready to bring them down when an opportunity presents itself. How nice would it be if this ended up being Marjorie Taylor Greene's fate? (Admittedly, it won't be me who pulls this off.) 

Oscar Wilde once said, "Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much." It's no problem for me personally to forgive the blonde hellion from Georgia for making a platform out of kickin' and stompin' and screaming into the ignorant abyss to the enormous detriment of this country and its people. But it's much harder to get past all the chaos she created this year. Herewith, just a few of her most poorly chosen "warrior" moments. 

That time she kicked an 18-year-old activist in D.C.
Marjorie Taylor GreeneU.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks at a news conference with the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill September 15, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Nothing provides proof that an adult does not, in fact, have their s**t together than resorting to physical violence. In September, when asked by a group of young activists to explain how the Second Amendment can prevent gun violence, Greene chose to kick one of them in the back of the leg rather than offer a rational response. To make matters worse, the person she kicked was 18-year-old Marianna Pecora, deputy communications director for Voters of Tomorrow, who was in D.C. at the time to lobby for youth rights. When Pecora and her colleague Santiago Mayer, the group's executive director, shared video of the exchange on Twitter, clearly showing the kick, Greene actually retweeted it, calling the young activists "foolish cowards." 
That time she told Joe Biden to go to hell
Marjorie Taylor GreeneRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) as U.S. President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address in the U.S. Capitol's House Chamber, March 01, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Greene is obviously not a big fan of President Biden, so when he made the announcement in August that he planned to clear up to $10,000 in PPP loans for students struggling with financial debt, she seized opportunity to let it all hang out. But as is often the case with Greene and her ilk, these efforts to shame the president backfired and it was revealed that Greene had herself received $183,504 in PPP loans. In a tweet from late August, Greene deflected, saying to Biden: "I don't respect you for leaving our border wide open allowing an invasion & deadly drugs in daily, arming the Taliban, wrecking our economy, killing our energy independence, & supporting killing the unborn & genital mutilation of children. Go to hell Joe." That's what an onlooker like me would refer to as being "butt-hurt." 
That time she fought against gender-affirming care for trans youth
Marjorie Taylor GreeneRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) discussed her legislation the Protect Children's Innocence Act on Capitol Hill September 20, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
August was a big month for Greene. On Aug. 18, during an appearance on Tucker Carlson's primetime Fox News show, Greene gave viewers a sneak peek at the big endeavor she unveiled the following day, the Protect Children's Innocence Act. Master of "saying the quiet part out loud," Greene used her reputation for emphatic opposition to gender-affirming care for trans youth to springboard this bill that, in her words, "would immediately make it a felony to subject children to puberty blockers or horrific sex change genital surgeries." Children, of course, are not eligible for the "horrific" genital surgeries that Greene mentions — the standard minimum age requirement for such surgery is 17 — but that hasn't slowed her down. She told Carlson she viewed gender-affirming care as "disgusting and appalling," describing it as "child abuse." As a 2022 information sheet from the Department of Health and Human Services puts it, "gender-affirming care improves the mental health and overall well-being of gender diverse children and adolescents." But sure, "protect the children," I guess. 
That time she championed Christian nationalism in public
Marjorie Taylor GreeneRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., cheers during the America First Policy Institute's America First Agenda Summit on Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
During a July 23 interview at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Florida, Greene let her religious-bigot flag fly. During an interview with Taylor Hanson of the right-wing Next News Network, Greene said "We need to be the party of nationalism, and I'm a Christian. And I say it proudly: We should be Christian nationalists." A few weeks later, Greene gave another interview, elaborating on her Turning Point views. In this later interview, which Forbes noted in a YouTube clip, she smirkingly defined Christian nationalism as nothing more than a matter of "Christianity and loving our country." When the reporter in the clip politely pushes back, reminding Greene that the definition of the term carries other connotations, Greene said her interpretation was the only one she was familiar with, telling the Black female reporter that she didn't know what she was talking about.
That time she called abortion bans a "blessing"
Marjorie Taylor GreeneRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks to the media outside the Supreme Court after the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
In June, Greene gave a statement outside the Supreme Court building shortly after the Dobbs decision was handed down, overturning Roe v. Wade and women's constitutional right to choose abortion. She was psyched. "I am so happy. It's a blessing. It's a miracle," Greene said, while swarms of gathered protesters screamed at her, calling her a traitor. Months later, during a news segment in October, a woman called in to speak against Greene's views saying "My body is my body and I don't want the government telling me what I can do with my body." According to Vanity Fair, Greene insulted the woman saying, "I don't think you're having children any time soon." The implication was that, based on the woman's voice alone, she was too old to have an opinion on abortion rights. 
That time she called Catholics Satanic
Marjorie Taylor GreeneU.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene speaks during a court hearing on April 22, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (John Bazemore-Pool/Getty Images)
Like other Republicans who use religion as a blunt instrument, Greene bends her definition of what real religion is to suit her current talking points. In April, she gave an interview to the far-right Catholic news organization Church Militant in which she suggested that Satan was controlling the Catholic Church. After Catholic League president Bill Donohue took issue with her comments, Greene released a 700-word statement clapping back at some length. Donohue had accused her of "slandering Catholics and Catholicism in an interview I gave to Michael Voris at Church Militant," Greene wrote. "Nothing could be further from the truth, and he must apologize promptly and publicly for these words... It's the church leadership I was referring to when I invoked the Devil. The bishops know that, but had their loyal lapdog pretend I was being disrespectful about the faith." A bit further on, Greene does a bit more revising, saying, "Just so we're clear, bishops, when I said 'controlled by Satan,' I wasn't talking about the Catholic Church. I was talking about you."
That time she fought against LGBTQ rights
Marjorie Taylor GreeneRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) speaks to supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump on March 26, 2022 in Commerce, Georgia. (Megan Varner/Getty Images)
In the earlier months of 2022, Greene gave full support to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' infamous "Don't Say Gay" bill and turned her focus toward crafting a similar bill for Georgia. In an appearance on Alex Jones' Infowars, Greene said "I will meet with my team right after this interview and we will work on it, Alex, because I will do anything I can to protect kids." As you might expect, in December Greene voted against the Marriage Protection Act, which at the very least ensured continuing nationwide marriage rights for same-sex couples.

By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

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