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Congress in Chaos: The Circus Is in Town

Committee halts business to sling barbs at each other.

by | May 18, 2024 | Articles, Opinion, Politics

The House Oversight Committee erupted into a scene from a schoolyard playground Thursday night, May 16, as Congress members hurtled childish insults at each other. While discussing a resolution to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt for not turning over audio recordings of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur, a few committee members decided to turn on each other. As House Speaker Mike Johnson said, “It was not a good look for Congress.”

Congress Erupts Into Insults and Bullying

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) started off the hour-long debacle when she made a crack to Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX) about her “fake eyelashes.” It began when Greene brought up Judge Juan Merchan, the justice presiding over former President Donald Trump’s “hush-money” trial in New York.  “I’d like to know if any of the Democrats on this committee are employing Judge Merchan’s daughter,” she asked.

The judge has been accused of being a Trump hater, and his daughter, Loren, is reportedly a senior executive at a liberal Democrat firm. Loren is the president of Authentic Campaigns, which does digital campaign work for Democratic political candidates. A screenshot from Loren’s LinkedIn account that is making its rounds on social media, said she was also the director of digital persuasion for now-Vice President Kamala Harris’s 2020 presidential campaign.

Crockett responded to Green’s demand, asking, “what that has to do with Merrick Garland,” and she then asked: “Do you know what we’re here for?” Green, in typical fashion, quipped: “I don’t think you know what you’re here for. I think your fake eyelashes are messing up what you’re reading.”

That didn’t go over well with the others, and it especially offended Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who lashed out with: “That is absolutely unacceptable, how dare you attack the physical appearance of another person.”

That started another tirade as Green and Ocasio-Cortez went on trading insults. Greene asked, “Are your feelings hurt?” Not to be outdone by the childish verbiage, Ocasio-Cortez shot back: “Oh baby girl … don’t even play.”

Later, Crockett threw another jab aimed at Greene, saying: “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?” Greene went on to say Crockett didn’t have the intelligence to debate her.

But they weren’t the only Congress members to get in on the name calling. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) made an insinuation that Democrats on the committee don’t want to work, and Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) shot back with: “like showing up for a vote?” He was supposedly referring to how Luna and other members were at Trump’s trial in New York instead of at Capitol Hill earlier in the day. Not to be outdone, Luna said, “You have a lot to say being that you’re on retainer for the judge’s daughter. Sorry trust fund kid.”

New banner Perpective 1The discussion turned to Greene’s physical appearance, and Luna said the Democrats should be disciplined for making cracks about the Georgia lawmaker’s body. Greene, however, didn’t seem to be bothered by the remarks, saying, “I hope you brought your popcorn,” then added that her “body is pretty good” since she is “going to turn 50 this month.”

Although the committee did finally manage to conduct the business that brought them together and approved the resolution against AG Garland with a 24-20 vote, the show didn’t stop there. It was time to air dirty laundry on social media. Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) posted on X: “In the past, I’ve described the U.S. House as The Jerry Springer Show. Today, I’m apologizing to The Jerry Springer Show.”

Ocasio-Cortez once again took offense and replied by posting: “I understand you likely would not have stood up for your colleague and seem to be confused about racism and misogyny being a ‘both sides’ issue. But I stand up to bullies, instead of becoming one. And to the women of Pennsylvania: I’d stand up for you too.”

Congress members on the committee were rebuked by social media followers and news outlets alike. A former aide to President Biden, Meghan Hays, said: “Why are these people even acceptable, this is disgusting how they are behaving. They have enough to attack each other on their views. They don’t need to attack each other on their eyelashes and their hair.”

Conservative strategist Sarah Longwell said: “It’s not just these three women, I watched the men behave, calling each other names.” She was referring to the chaos leading up to electing Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as the speaker of the House. “The House is in absolute chaos and we have been electing a lot of clowns in this country and we are getting a circus.”

Lawrence Jones, co-host on Fox & Friends, remarked: “To see them go ahead … was just a moment. Their parents must be so proud. I mean, to make it all the way to Congress and then act so trashy at a committee hearing.”

Congress has a history of getting out of control. One of the worst and likely most famous incidents happened on May 22, 1856, when “the world’s greatest deliberative body became a combat zone,” as the United States Senate website described. Senator Charles Sumner, a Massachusetts antislavery Republican, spoke to the Senate on whether Kansas should be admitted to the Union as a free or slave state. He called out two Democratic senators, Stephen Douglas of Illinois and Andrew Butler of South Carolina, referring to Douglas as a “noise-some, squat, and nameless animal … not a proper model for an American senator.”

Butler, who had not been present, had been accused as taking “a mistress … who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight – I mean, the harlot, Slavery.”

Representative Preston Brooks was Butler’s relative, and, instead of challenging him to a duel as was customary at the time, he found Sumner working on his speech and bashed him over the head with his cane. Sumner tried to get away, but Brooks repeatedly hit him over the head with the metal-topped weapon. Sumner had to be carried away to the hospital.

The antics of the committee members may not be new, but these incidents do seem to be happening much more often these days. These are the people Americans elect to represent them, but their behavior is an embarrassment to the US around the world. Still, maybe these Congress members do represent the people since we have become a nation divided, eager to argue and fight each other when our values and beliefs do not match.

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