“There’s going to be a lot of investigations,” Marjorie Taylor Greene said, describing what she anticipates if the Republicans regain the House majority this November. “I’ve talked with a lot of members about this.”
It was early September, two months before the midterm elections, and Greene, the first-term congresswoman from Georgia, was sitting in a restaurant in Alpharetta, an affluent suburb of greater metropolitan Atlanta. Among the fellow Republicans with whom Greene said she had been speaking about these investigations was the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy. Just a couple of weeks later, on Sept. 23, Greene sat directly behind McCarthy in a manufacturing facility in Monongahela, Pa., as he publicly previewed what a House Republican majority’s legislative agenda would look like. Among the topics she and her colleagues have discussed is the prospect of impeaching President Joe Biden, a pursuit Greene has advocated literally since the day after Biden took office, when she filed articles of impeachment accusing Obama’s vice president of having abused his power to benefit his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine. “My style would be a lot more aggressive, of course,” she told me, referring to McCarthy. “For him, I think the evidence needs to be there. But I think people underestimate him, in thinking he wouldn’t do it.”
In Greene’s view, a Speaker McCarthy would have little choice but to adopt Greene’s “a lot more aggressive” approach toward punishing Biden and his fellow Democrats for what she sees as their policy derelictions and for conducting a “witch hunt” against former President Trump. “I think that to be the best speaker of the House and to please the base, he’s going to give me a lot of power and a lot of leeway,” she predicted in a flat, unemotional voice. “And if he doesn’t, they’re going to be very unhappy about it. I think that’s the best way to read that. And that’s not in any way a threat at all. I just think that’s reality.”
Though the 48-year-old self-described “Christian nationalist” possesses a flair for extreme bombast equal to that of her political role model Trump, Greene’s assessment of her current standing within the Republican Party — owing to the devotion accorded her by the party’s MAGA base — would seem to be entirely accurate.
Over the past two years, Greene has gone from the far-right fringe of the G.O.P. ever closer to its establishment center without changing any of her own beliefs; if anything, she has continued to find more extreme ways to express them. When she entered electoral politics in 2019, she had spent much of her adult life as a co-owner, with her husband, of her family’s construction company. (Her husband, Perry Greene, recently filed for divorce.)
She threw herself into her first campaign, that May, with almost no strategic planning or political networking, and a social media history replete with hallucinatory conspiracy theories. When she switched to a more conservative district in the middle of the 2020 campaign and won, she was roundly dismissed as an unacceptable officeholder who could be contained, isolated and returned to sender in the next election. And yet in 2021, her first year in Congress, Greene raised $7.4 million in political donations, the fourth-highest among the 212 House Republicans, a feat made even more remarkable by the fact that the three who outraised Greene — McCarthy, the minority leader; Steve Scalise, the minority whip; and Dan Crenshaw of Texas — were beneficiaries of corporate PACs that have shunned Greene. (As Trump did during his candidacy, Greene maintains that it is in fact she who refuses all corporate donations.)
In another measure of her influence within the national party, Greene’s endorsement and support have been eagerly sought by 2022 G.O.P. hopefuls like the Arizona gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and the Ohio U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance. Within the House Republican conference, McCarthy has assiduously courted her support, inviting her to high-level policy meetings (such as a discussion about the National Defense Authorization Act, which sets Department of Defense policy for the year) and, according to someone with knowledge of their exchanges, offering to create a new leadership position for her.
McCarthy’s spokesman denies that the minority leader has made such an offer. When I asked Greene if the report was inaccurate, she smiled and said, “Not necessarily.” But then she added: “I don’t have to have a leadership position. I think I already have one, without having one.” [Continue reading…]