House Oversight Committee meeting erupts in personal attacks and partisan disputes

A nighttime session of the House Oversight Committee intended to discuss a resolution recommending Attorney General Merrick Garland be held in contempt of Congress, descended into chaos amid personal attacks and partisan bickering.

The rare evening session took a contentious turn when MAGA Republican and rabid Donald Trump supporter Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia responded to a question from Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) with a personal remark. “I think your fake eyelashes are messing up what you’re reading,” Greene incredulously lashed out.

Democrats immediately reacted negatively to the remark, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) leading the charge. She demanded that the unhinged Greene retract her comments and offer Crockett an apology. “That is absolutely unacceptable,” Ocasio-Cortez declared amid the crosstalk. “How dare you attack the physical appearance of another person?”

Greene, undeterred, taunted Ocasio-Cortez, asking, “Are your feelings hurt?” Ocasio-Cortez responded sharply, “Oh, girl? Baby girl, don’t even play.”

Just minutes later, Greene, of all members, attacked Ocasio-Cortez’s intelligence, challenging her to a debate and asserting, “You don’t have enough intelligence.” This prompted audible groans from other members.

During the contentious exchange, political pundits and others couldn’t help but to note the difference between Crockett and Greene, whom many on social media allege is a staunch racist. The Texas Democrat has routinely demonstrated her passion for justice and the protection of rights and has platformed criminal justice reform. Meanwhile, Greene remains a lighting rod for what’s plaguing government servants. In March of 2022, numerous Georgia voters filed legal challenges to her reelection campaign, alleging that she was disqualified from public office because she helped to facilitate the January 6, 2021, insurrection.

“The way she represents herself … seems unhinged to Republicans, but Greene is twice as destructive,” USA Today opinion columnist Nicole Russell wrote. “Greene has a history of incendiary behavior, banned from Twitter and stripped of committee assignments in 2021, she even adopted QAnon conspiracy theories and used violent rhetoric against political foes.”

Despite agreeing to strike her comments toward Crockett, Greene refused to apologize for her remarks. “You will never get an apology out of me,” she declared. Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) ruled that Greene’s insult did not violate House rules, which led to further disputes. When Democratic ranking member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) attempted to appeal this ruling, Republicans moved to table his appeal.

Following the vote, Crockett sought clarification on the committee’s standards regarding personal attacks. “If someone on this committee then starts talking about somebody’s bleach blond, bad-built butch body, that would not be engaging in personalities, correct?” she asked, causing another uproar.

The controversy moved Comer to admit, “I have two hearing aids. I’m very deaf. I’m not understanding — everybody’s yelling. I’m doing the best I can.”

Comer later agreed to strike Greene’s insult of Ocasio-Cortez from the record, and Democrats pushed to enforce rules that would prevent Greene from speaking for the remainder of the hearing. However, Republicans voted to allow her to continue speaking. After a short recess, Comer reminded members to adhere to the House’s standard of decorum.

Greene was ultimately recognized to speak for over four minutes, reiterating her refusal to apologize. “I will not apologize for my words, and I will not change them,” she said.

Nearly an hour after the disruptions began, the committee returned to the original agenda of debating whether Garland should be held in contempt of Congress for not providing audio recordings of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur regarding classified documents.

The session had been moved from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. to accommodate members who attended former President Donald Trump’s trial in New York. Despite the turmoil, the committee voted 24-20 along party lines to recommend holding Garland in contempt. House Speaker Mike Johnson’s office has yet to announce when the resolution will be presented to the full House.

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