U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell took time out Friday evening to address a verbal confrontation he had with a staffer for Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene who told him to take off his mask.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Christine Jansing, Swalwell responded to an incident earlier in the day in which he exchanged words with a Greene staffer whom he said admonished him for continuing to wear a mask as he exited the House chamber.
According to The Hill’s Scott Wong, Nick Dyer, a spokesman for Greene, approached Swalwell and said, “Biden says you can take off your mask.”
“You don’t tell me what to f**king do!” Swalwell reportedly snapped in response.
Later, Swalwell took to Twitter to provide more details.
“I had a mask on as I stepped off the Floor. An aide with @mtgreenee yelled at me to take my mask off. No one should be bullied for wearing a mask. So I told the bully what I thought of his order. Predictably, he went speechless. I regret I wasn’t more explicit,” the California Democrat wrote.
I had a mask on as I stepped off the Floor. An aide with @mtgreenee yelled at me to take my mask off. No one should be bullied for wearing a mask. So I told the bully what I thought of his order. Predictably, he went speechless. I regret I wasn’t more explicit. https://t.co/o8j0DXWOBm
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) May 14, 2021
In his interview with Jansing, Swalwell explained that members are required to wear masks inside the chamber but he had “just forgotten to take my mask off” after he exited.
“Her aide yelled at me, ‘Take off your mask, congressman.’ And I’ve just frankly had enough with these marauding goons in the Marjorie Taylor Greene crowd who go around trying to terrorize my colleagues,” Swalwell said before accusing Greene of similarly engaging Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) this week and Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), earlier this year.
“I just thought the best way not to let people like this bully others is to tell the bullies to back off. So not surprisingly, this aide of hers got quite speechless after I had a few choice words for him,” he said, adding that his staff never engages Greene.
“They detest what she stands for, but they don’t confront her or order her around because that’s just not what we do or what is supposed to be a civil discourse environment,” he claimed.
Jansing then asked Swalwell for his feedback regarding a suggestion from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) about an ethics probe into Greene following her engagement with Ocasio-Cortez.
Noting that he is on the House leadership committee, Swalwell indicated that he supports the idea while accusing Greene of “terrorizing” members and “stalking” Ocasio-Cortez.
For her part, Greene pushed back Thursday against allegations that she was “screaming” at the self-professed democratic socialist from New York.
“Actually, @SpeakerPelosi the Ethics Commitee [sic] should look into @AOC for putting Trump admin staff and supporters on lists to destroy their lives and prevent future employment. She threatened the livelihoods of Americans for simply being Republicans. BTW, there was no screaming,” she wrote.
In a follow-on statement, she added: “Screaming is what people do when rockets are fired at them like Hamas terrorists are firing into Israel. That’s what people do, they scream when that happens. I was talking to AOC saying you need to debate me about the Green New Deal.”
Greene has been attempting to get Ocasio-Cortez to debate her over the latter’s controversial “Green New Deal.”
In her own statement, Ocasio-Cortez hinted that race might have been a factor in Greene’s actions.
“This isn’t even about how I feel. It’s that I refuse to allow young women, people of color, people who are standing up for what they believe, to see this kind of intimidation attempts by a person who supports white supremacists in our nation’s capital,” she said.
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