(WASHINGTON) — Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene faced fresh questions about her history of incendiary behavior and spreading baseless attacks on Democratic opponents — but doubled down in an interview with “60 Minutes” which aired on CBS on Sunday night.
“On an issue, when I’m outspoken about it, and I take my stand or my position, the first reaction is, ‘Marjorie’s crazy. Marjorie’s extreme. Marjorie’s a right-wing extremist,'” Greene told Lesley Stahl in the interview. “And then what will happen is my colleagues will go back home to their district, and their own constituents are coming up and saying, ‘Are you supporting Marjorie? Do you agree with Marjorie? Have you cosponsored Marjorie’s bill?'”
The sit-down in Greene’s Georgia home aired ahead of her vowing to be in New York City on Tuesday for former President Donald Trump’s historic arraignment after he was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury that had been investigating hush money paid on his behalf. Though the charges against him remain under seal, Trump has denied any wrongdoing and said he is being politically persecuted.
Stahl, the veteran journalist who interviewed Greene, introduced “MTG,” as she’s often called, as having gone “from fringe of the [Republican] Party to the front row,” now as an ally of Speaker Kevin McCarthy and holding spots on two major House committees. Stahl described her as someone who has “gained notoriety with a sharp tongue and some pretty radical views.”
To that end, Greene — who has repeatedly been banned from Twitter and was stripped of her committee assignments in the last Congress — said as the interview began that the American government “doesn’t deserve to be respected that much.”
Greene sticks with ‘pedophile’ attack
The wide-ranging feature showed Stahl watching Greene do CrossFit exercises and the pair walking the grounds of Greene’s 10 acre-estate as Stahl said the congresswoman, in her second term, is worth $11 million.
In one of the more explosive moments from the interview, Greene falsely conflated Democrats supporting minors’ access to gender-affirming health care with “pedophilia.”
“They support grooming children,” Greene said, defending her previous charge that “Democrats are a party of pedophiles.”
“They are not pedophiles,” a stunned Stahl pushed back. “Why would you say that?”
Greene maintained that Democrats including President Joe Biden support “children being sexualized and having transgender surgeries.”
But the Biden administration has supported a broad view of gender-affirming care as described by doctors, including for kids — rather than pushing surgeries.
“My question really is, can’t you fight for what you believe in without all that name-calling and without the personal attacks?” Stahl asked Greene on “60 Minutes.”
“Well, I would ask the same question to the other side, because all they’ve done is call me names and insult me non-stop,” Greene replied.
Asked about her social media choices
She appeared most uneasy when asked her about other controversial comments she’s made and supported on social media.
When she said that she’s apologized to her House colleagues for having had subscribed to the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory, Stahl asked if she’s also apologized to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for liking a comment in 2019 on Facebook which said Pelosi should “get a bullet to the head.”
“I didn’t say that, so I don’t need to apologize for words that weren’t mine,” Greene said. “Other people also ran my social media. I don’t think I did that,” she added, despite not being an elected official that year.
Asked then if she’s apologized for previously agreeing with a description of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 students and school employees in 2018 as a “false flag,” Greene denied she did that at all, even though on Facebook she had once liked a post with that description and commented, “Exactly!!”
“I don’t know if you actually have my– No, I never said Parkland was a false flag. No, I’ve never said that. School shootings are horrible. I don’t think it’s anything to joke about,” Greene said, despite “60 Minutes” showing a social media screenshot of what she wrote.
“Have you fact-checked all my statements from kindergarten through 12th grade? And in college?” Greene said to Stahl. “I got a few speeding tickets. Do we need to talk about those, too?”
In another notable moment, presented with her comments that America should have a “Christian government,” that abortion should be banned nationally, that the FBI should shut down and that all immigration should stop for four years, Greene confirmed those was her views and expanded on her desire for a Christian government.
“The Constitution, the very First Amendment, prohibits having a religion in the government,” Stahl said.
“Yet the Founding Fathers quoted the Bible constantly and were driven by their faith,” Greene responded.
Profile spot draws backlash
Even before the interview aired, many online criticized Stahl for focusing on Greene on “60 Minutes” rather than ignoring her given her background.
“I have known Lesley Stahl for more than 40 years, worked alongside her for many election weeks. She has been a great journalist, but this is a disgraceful, cringeworthy performance. Shameful to the max,” tweeted Norman Ornstein, an emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
Another critic wrote, “Jon Stewart once wrote a parody of Larry King interviewing Hitler. This has the same vibe.”
David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland massacre and gun safety advocate whom Greene badgered outside the Capitol in March 2019, according to a video clip which “60 Minutes” also aired Sunday, wrote on Twitter that he was “glad” Greene got the airtime.
“It’s important to interview one of the main leaders of the Republican Party so the American people know everything and I mean everything they support. Including denying school shootings,” Hogg tweeted.
A spokesperson for “60 Minutes” declined to comment on the record. Others on social media defended the choice to profile Greene, given her rising profile.
Greene, amid what she says is an evolving attitude toward the mainstream press, reportedly approved of the interview.
“It wasn’t bad!” she told Semafor, a news website. “I thought it was pretty good. And I’ve gotten nonstop text messages from, golly, so many people in my district and my family and my friends.”
The congresswoman lauded Stahl in a tweet on Saturday and has since shared several clips of their chat.
“It was an honor to spend a few days with the legendary icon [Lesley] Stahl and talented crew,” Greene wrote, misspelling Stahl’s first name. “Leslie is a trailblazer for women in journalism. And while we may disagree on some issues, I respect her greatly.”
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.