House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday sided with her rival from the Democratic Party’s progressive flank, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — a frequent critic who’s bucked her leadership — over her run-in a day earlier with Republican firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the behavior of Greene (R-Ga.) outside the House Chamber on Wednesday evening amounted to “verbal assault and abuse” and could result in sanctions by the House Ethics Committee.
During the incident, Greene yelled, “Hey, Alexandria!” twice as Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) walked down the hallway, the Washington Post first reported.
Greene attempted to catch up to the self-described Democratic socialist, yelling, “Why do you support terrorists and Antifa?” and calling on her to publicly debate her “radical socialist” policies.
“It was reported to our office about what happened as members were leaving the floor yesterday — the verbal assault and abuse of our colleague Congresswoman AOC,” Pelosi told reporters during a news conference Thursday.
“It’s so beyond the pale of anything that it is in keeping with bringing honor to the House, or not bringing dishonor to the House.”
Pelosi added: “It probably is a matter for the Ethics Committee.”
“This is beneath the dignity of a person serving in the Congress of the United States, and is a cause for trauma, and fear among members, especially on the heels of an insurrection, on which the minority in the committee yesterday denied ever happened,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez did not stop to converse at length with Greene — a controversial freshman member who was removed from her committee assignments after inflammatory comments prior to her being elected to Congress emerged earlier this year — but threw her hands in the air in frustration.
Greene then accused Ocasio-Cortez of failing to defend her policy stances, and of sympathizing with “terrorists here in the United States — Antifa, BLM riots.”
“She’s a chicken, she doesn’t want to debate the Green New Deal,” she told reporters Wednesday. “These members are cowards. They need to defend their legislation to the people. That’s pathetic.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s office said they hope disciplinary action is taken in the wake of the feud, arguing that Greene’s conduct is a cause for concern for members’ safety.
“Representative Greene tried to begin an argument with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and when Rep. Ocasio-Cortez tried to walk away, Congresswoman Greene began screaming and called Rep. Ocasio-Cortez a terrorist sympathizer,” Ocasio-Cortez spokeswoman Lauren Hitt told the Washington Post in a statement.
“We hope leadership and the Sergeant at Arms will take real steps to make Congress a safe, civil place for all Members and staff — especially as many offices are discussing reopening. One Member has already been forced to relocate her office due to Congresswoman Greene’s attacks.”
Pelosi’s comments on Greene come as the House looks to schedule a vote on supplemental funding for security at the Capitol following the breach when a group of pro-Donald Trump rioters stormed the building in an attempt to disrupt the certification of the election.
Democratic leadership implemented heightened security measures following the breach — some of which have been met with pushback from Republicans, who argue the threat came from outside the building, not within — including installing magnetometers outside the House chamber doors which members are required to walk through, the presence of members of the National Guard and a fence around the perimeter of the Capitol building.
A larger fence that surrounded the Capitol’s entire campus has since been removed.