What Will Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Approach Be In Congress?
This week, Marjorie Taylor Greene hosted a trio of town halls in her North Georgia district. She told her constituents what she’s been up to in her first days in the U.S. House.
“So I introduced articles of impeachment on Joe Biden,” Greene said, to loud applause.
The political move isn’t likely to advance, but her small audience loved it.
As for the scandalous headlines dredging up her livestream videos on conspiracy theories of all flavors, Greene said that’s just what the fake news media does to good people.
A man in the audience tells her, “You sound like Trump!” A giggle rolls through the room.
“He’s very inspiring,” Greene said.
The freshman North Georgia congresswoman made herself a favorite of former President Donald Trump. He’s tweeted her praises and called her up on stage at a rally in northwest Georgia just before the Senate runoffs earlier this month.
But in this new political moment, many Republicans across the country are wrestling with whether to back the former president or back away from him.
With Greene now in the mix, that decision might get harder.
Georgia Democratic state Sen. Jen Jordan has some extra insight into how the radical, freshman representative may operate in Congress because of who Greene recently chose as her top staff member. She’s hired a fiery, former gun-rights activist from Georgia, Patrick Parsons.
“Patrick was effective because he was willing, I mean, he was really willing, to go after people. Skirt the truth. Say things that weren’t true. And it really seemed to be about raising money, too,” said Jordan.
She said Parsons was an unusual kind of gun lobbyist. She’s tangled with him online for years, trying to pass gun regulations to help protect victims of domestic violence. He’d target her with memes and insults in his long pro-gun Facebook live videos. But not just her. More often, Republicans who didn’t obey him.
“They really weren’t targeting Democrats. How they did it was they would go directly at Republicans in the state and ostracized them on social media,” said Jordan.
With Parsons’ help, Jordan said Greene is likely to use his approach in Congress.
“The fact that she hired somebody who, that’s his M.O. He utilizes social in a way and goes after Republicans and really tries to bully people.”
Greene’s new chief of staff spent the better part of this decade in Georgia raising more than $2 million in donations for his organization: Georgia Gun Owners. But according to other gun-rights activists in the state, he hasn’t succeeded in getting a single pro-gun bill passed.
“He tries to make more enemies, and he tries to get people motivated to give him money,” said Jerry Henry, with Georgia Carry, a well-established gun-rights organization.
“They’re a fundraising outfit. They introduce a gun bill, and they immediately turn around and start bad-mouthing the people who can get the bill passed.”
The outrage and donations have always held more interest for Parsons than actually shaping policy, according to Henry. He said he recognizes some of the language Greene uses from her top aide’s aggressive approach in the gun-rights world. Calling other lawmakers morons, for instance.
“One of her tweets I’ve seen, it looks like he may be tweeting for her,” said Henry.
Despite a short-lived Twitter ban, Greene herself maintains a significant social media presence across both mainstream and alternative platforms. She’s been a prolific livestreamer for years.
Jordan says that direct engagement with her supporters is likely key to how she’ll operate in Washington.
“I think the new congresswoman is going to have to make a decision as to whether she’s trying to get media attention and be in the spotlight on social, Twitter whatever or if she’s actually going to try to get things done for the people in her district.”
Neither Greene nor her chief of staff, Parsons, responded to an interview request.
For more on Greene and her roots in the gun-rights activist world, listen to NPR and No Compromise, co-hosted by WABE’s Lisa Hagen.